Fed Nomination Could Provide Opening For Oversight Discussion

Fed Nomination Could Provide Opening For Oversight Discussion

Sen. Rand Paul has made it very clear recently how he feels about the Federal Reserve and Chairman Ben Bernanke, using words like “snake oil” and “cloak of secrecy,” to describe their activities. The upcoming debate over the Fed nomination and the naming of Bernanke’s official successor may give Paul a chance to turn up the volume, says Politico.

Fed Fight: Will Rand Paul Make a Stand?

“With Washington polarized over the top two contenders for the job — Fed Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers — a potentially messy nomination battle is sure to give Paul and other tea party conservatives an opportunity to rail against the central bank….”

“Both the who and the when of Obama’s Fed nomination are still unknown, but advisers to Paul say the first-term legislator is already planning to use the confirmation debate to press for greater oversight of the Fed, in part by promoting the Audit the Fed legislation that passed the House last Congress with bipartisan support.”

That legislation – authored by his father, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a few years ago, and reintroduced by the younger Paul this past February – would give the Government Accountability Office the ability to conduct a complete audit of the Federal Reserve. It passed the House by a wide margin with bipartisan support (327-98) in 2012, Rep. Paul’s last year in Congress.

Now, Sen. Paul wants Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring that same bill to the floor during this year’s Congress. No matter what Paul’s goals however, regarding the Fed nomination, he is handcuffed, as Politico points out:

“At the same time, Paul is said to be keenly aware of the limits of what he can accomplish in the course of considering a nomination. He does not sit on the Senate Banking Committee, which will question the eventual nominee. And it would take bipartisan opposition to derail or significantly slow down a Fed selection — opposition that may or may not materialize.”

“A Rand Paul spokesman said he was unavailable to be interviewed for this story, but the senator’s advisers said they see no political downside in promoting the Fed-auditing proposal, with one explaining: ‘It passed the House by an overwhelming margin in the last Congress and Rand feels strongly that it deserves a vote in the Senate.’”

Whether there is open track ahead for Sen. Paul to continue riding the momentum started by his father is still unclear. But it has the banking and finance worlds taking notice that people are indeed watching them.

What are your thoughts about Paul using the Fed nomination to bring more attention to auditing the Federal Reserve? Let us know below!

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