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Broun Picks Up Paul's Fight Against Fed

Georgia Republican is getting some bipartisan support for plan to force audit of the nation’s central bank

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Broun, center, is taking up the mantle of former Rep. Ron Paul and is pushing a bill to require an audit of the Federal Reserve.

Ron Paul’s retirement from Congress doesn’t mean Federal Reserve officials can rest any easier.

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., is moving rapidly to assume the Texas Republican’s mantle, pressuring lawmakers to get a tighter grip on the central bank.

Broun has replaced Paul in pushing for a bipartisan proposal (HR 24) to require the comptroller general to conduct a mandatory audit of the Federal Reserve. The proposal is similar to one sponsored by Paul that died in the Senate in the 112th Congress, after passing the House 327-97 in July.

While Broun’s bill faces strong opposition from senior Democrats in the Senate, who see it as an intrusion on the central bank’s authority, the measure appears to be well-positioned for a revival in the House, where members of both parties, particularly from rural districts, have argued for more aggressive oversight of the Federal Reserve.

The campaign for an audit of the Fed has been propelled by critics concerned about the declining value of the dollar. The audit would focus in part on the development of monetary policy by the central bank. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has argued strongly against the audit legislation on the grounds that it would interfere with operations of the central bank and its handling of monetary policy.

But Broun says he believes support for the legislation is growing.

“It has a lot of support. ... We’re going to try to get enough pressure so that hopefully the Senate will pass it. We’re going to push it real hard,” Broun said. “We’re going to audit the Fed from top to bottom, once we get this enacted.”

The measure has 67 co-sponsors, including several Democrats such as Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon and Dave Loebsack of Iowa.

Broun said he hoped to work with Senate allies to try to build a broader base of support for the bill in the Senate. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the son of the former Texas lawmaker, is expected to lead the push there.

The measure would require the Government Accountability Office to complete an audit of the Federal Reserve in one year and file a report with recommendations for legislative or administrative action. The GAO does not have authority to audit the Federal Reserve under current law.

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