Watered-Down Fed Audit Amendment Passes the Senate

By Daniel Indiviglio

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/05/watered-down-fed-audit-amendment-passes-the-senate/56551/