Audit the Fed Politicking Heats Up, as Reid Indicates His Yes Vote
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tells Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post that he is leaning toward voting for two controversial amendments: one provision by Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to break up big banks and create hard asset and leverage caps, and the audit-the-Fed amendment sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
The two amendments have both received bipartisan support despite strong — if until very recently behind-the-scenes — opposition from the executive branch, including the White House, Treasury Department and Federal Reserve. That opposition had been giving senators pause. For instance, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) had indicated she would vote for the strong audit of the Federal Reserve, but then backtracked. Expect to see more and more senators indicating a firm yes or no today as the vote on the Sanders amendment might come as early as this afternoon.
Sanders, for the past day or two, has punched back against opposition to his amendment, telling ABC News, for instance, that the implication that auditing the Fed will impinge or politicize monetary policymaking is false. “It’s not accurate. I know that’s what the Fed is saying. I know that’s what Treasury is saying. But it’s bogus,” Sanders said. “What people are saying is the Fed has enormous power and while Congress absolutely should not be doing monetary policy — raising interest rates, lowering interest rates — it is unacceptable to give trillions of dollars in zero or near-zero interest loans to large financial organizations, with the American people having no idea which organizations.”