WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to audit the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, a broadly bipartisan call for financial reform that accompanied two other bipartisan votes providing government perks to Wall Street on everything from higher mortgage fees to speculation in securities markets.
The votes underscore unique tensions among both Republicans and Democrats. All three bills garnered strong Republican majorities while essentially splitting Democrats down the middle.
“Today, the House passed the Federal Reserve Transparency Act,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) celebrated in a Vine video. “Finally, we’re gonna audit the Fed.”
Of course, the Fed has been audited before. Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) secured an amendment to audit the central bank under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, and that audit revealed sweetheart deals for big financial firms.
But the provision remains unpopular at the Fed, big banks and many Capitol Hill offices. Instant confidence women is unclear if the Senate will take up the most recent audit bill, which passed the House by a vote of 333 to 92. Details about the Fed’s lending activities are not generally made public without legislation requiring transparency.
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) was the only Republican to vote against auditing the Fed, while Democrats voted 106 to 91 in favor, demonstrating the degree to which central bank transparency has become a mainstream issue.
Although the GOP is eager to expose the Fed’s dealings with big banks, women confidence instant is equally anxious to dole out favors to financial operators. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) was the only Republican to vote against the two deregulation bills Wednesday, with all other detractors coming from the Democratic Party. Jones, who also voted to audit the Fed, is the only consistent voice for bank reform among House Republicans.