Washington, Jun 27 -
After years of inaction and half steps, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has finally taken bipartisan action to move forward legislation to authorize the Government Accountability Office to fully audit of the Federal Reserve (Fed). The Committee has passed legislation, H.R. 459, paving the way for the bill’s consideration on the House Floor. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has been one of the primary leaders in the charge for an audit of the Fed and is an original cosponsor of the bill. Speaking in support of the bill, Kucinich thanked Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), author of H.R. 459, for his leadership on issues related to the Fed.
“The U.S. Constitution delegated power over money creation to the U.S. Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. That power, however it may have been envisioned by the Founders, has evolved into monetary policy as we know it today; the actions of the Federal Reserve determine the size and rate of growth of the money supply, which in turn affects interest rates that affect everyone, from the small business owner to the student seeking to finance his or her education, to the largest corporation.
“Today, as this nation continues to deal with the effects of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, we know for a fact that trillions were created by the Fed during the financial crisis, largely for the benefit of the biggest financial institutions, which brought us to crisis in the first place. Yet the Fed’s monetary policy operations remain largely exempt from scrutiny.
“When Congress created the Fed in 1913, Congress delegated specific tasks to it, and Congress remains constitutionally-obligated to conduct oversight over the Fed as a result. The Fed should not be permitted to operate in the dark without oversight by Congress and accountability to the people,” said Kucinich.
“I also want to go on the record thanking Representative Ron Paul for his work on the larger issue here with respect to the Federal Reserve. We wouldn’t be at this moment except for his diligence. I was proud to work with him in the early stages of this bill,” added Kucinich.
At the Oversight Committee markup today, Representatives from both sides of the aisle spoke in support of the need for Congress to know more about the Fed’s actions, so that Congress can fully conduct oversight.
Chairman Issa praised Congressman Kucinich for his foresight, stating that Congressman Kucinich “saw the crisis coming in Cleveland before it happened,” and recalled Congressman Kucinich’s leading Oversight Committee members on trip to Cleveland for a field hearing in the 111th Congress to see the signs of the looming housing crisis for themselves.
H.R. 459 requires the Comptroller General (Government Accountability Office, or GAO) to conduct an audit of the Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve banks before the end of 2012. The bill would remove restrictions on what the GAO can audit, while retaining some necessary and logical restrictions on the release of confidential information.