A compromise amendment requiring the GAO to conduct a one-time audit of the Federal Reserve’s emergency-response programs unanimously passed the Senate by a 96-0 vote. The amendment had been introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and calls for for releasing the names of institutions that received in total more than $2 trillion in loans from the central bank during the peak of the financial crisis.
Sanders had originally used the language of Ron Paul’s HR 1207, which passed in the House as an amendment last year, but later changed his amendment under pressure by the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration. Sen. Vitter reintroduced an amendment with the original Audit the Fed language.
In a recent interview Ron Paul expressed mixed feelings about the Sanders amendment:
Ron Paul: Bernie Sanders, who was supposed to introduce my amendment and brought it up and at the last minute changed it. And I did have a conversation with him [on Friday, May 7]. He did describe it as, “well that was the best” he could get, “it had to be watered down a bit. There was no way the other one would be passed,” that argument.
I think he has one point. If his bill as it is written, even though it’s much different than my bill that I introduced, it probably would be better than the rest. But my point to him was that it would be important that we have the Senate at least be on record they haven’t voted for a much cleaner bill. If it doesn’t pass, then offer his as a substitute and pass it. Under those circumstances I may well support it but I would want to go for the best bill.
But it looks like Vitter may be introducing the much cleaner bill and I know Jim DeMint has worked hard on it. He would be supporting it to come up. Quite frankly I don’t think it will pass. I think Bernie is counting the votes, he claims he has to have 60 votes to pass anything. But you know, if Dodd is supporting what Bernie wants to do as well as Reid has said that he would support Sanders, and if they’re supporting it it means the president is going to sign it, and if they’re all supporting it, I would be very suspicious that the Fed is quite aware of this and they’re satisfied with this and maybe they think they’re getting off the hook.