Sanders Joins Rand Paul in Voting Yes on Audit the Fed

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (photo credit: Michael Vadon via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (photo credit: Michael Vadon via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

In a sign of how potentially potent the issue of the Federal Reserve and monetary policy still is, the insurgent leader of the Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders, joined with Rand Paul and most Republicans to vote yes on Paul’s Audit the Fed bill, which was nevertheless scuttled by a majority of Democrats:

Senate Democrats blocked a vote Tuesday on legislation from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would have required an audit and greater transparency on monetary policy-making from the Federal Reserve, the powerful central banking system that sets interest rates and manages the money supply.

The bill won near-unanimous Republican support and votes from Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, but fell short of the 60 votes needed for consideration.

In a statement, Sanders explained why he parted ways with most Democrats in voting for the bill:

Too much of the Fed’s business is conducted in secret, known only to the bankers on its various boards and committees. In 2010, I inserted an amendment in Dodd-Frank to audit the emergency lending by the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis. As a result of this audit, we learned that an institution that was created to serve all Americans had been hijacked by the very bankers it regulates.

We must expand on that first review of the Fed’s activities. Requiring the Government Accountability Office to conduct a full and independent audit of the Fed each and every year, would be an important step towards making the Federal Reserve a more democratic institution that is responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans rather than the billionaires on Wall Street.

As The Hill reported yesterday, Sanders has connected reforming the Fed to his campaign’s more conspicuous push for further oversight of Wall Street:

[W]hile Sanders is a Wall Street scold, he also has plenty of scorn for regulators, such as the Fed, that he views as treating Wall Street with too light a touch.

In December, Sanders wrote in The New York Times that the Fed is in need of fundamental reform, arguing the institution had been “hijacked” by Wall Street banks.

Among the policy prescriptions Sanders put forward was a “full and independent audit” of the Fed annually.

Among other presidential hopefuls, Marco Rubio voted in favor of the measure, while Ted Cruz missed the vote.

Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.