Watered-Down Fed Audit Amendment Passes the Senate

How do you get legislation to pass in the Senate by a robust bipartisan tally? Easy, just make it uncontroversial. That was the key to the success of Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) revised amendment (.pdf) to audit the Federal Reserve. It passed the Senate today 96 to 0.

Sanders' original amendment (.pdf) mimicked that passed (.pdf) for the House's version of financial reform, sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Sanders was forced to revise his legislation when it became clear that a Senate majority had no intention of increasing the ongoing oversight of the Fed. Instead, the new amendment would just require an audit of the Fed's activities taken during the financial crisis.

Those who wanted Congress to have greater ongoing oversight of the Fed, including Paul, were disappointed with this move. In fact, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) sponsored a separate amendment that would have essentially restored Sanders' original language allowing future audits. It was voted on after Sanders' amendment passed. Vitter's measure failed, however, by a vote of 37 to 62. Most yea-votes came from Republicans, along with six Democrats and Sanders.

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Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.

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