Rand Paul To Block Yellen Nomination Over Fed Audit Bill

Senator Rand Paul says that he he will block the nomination of Janet Yellen to replace Ben Bernanke as the head of the Federal Reserve Board in order to force a vote on his bill to audit the institution:

Sen. Rand Paul said on Tuesday that he plans to place a hold on Janet Yellen’s nomination to be Federal Reserve chair to try and force a vote on a bill he argues would increase transparency at the central bank.

Paul has been hinting for weeks he would make the move and on Tuesday the Kentucky Republican confirmed he will take this step absent a vote on the Audit the Fed bill first championed by his father — former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)

“I don’t think technically you can file a hold until she comes out of committee — but we’re putting people on notice that we will,” Paul told POLITICO.

The Senate Banking Committee is considering holding a hearing on Yellen’s nomination on Nov. 14. After that is done, the committee would need to vote to approve the nomination.

Paul wrote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) late Thursday to inform him of his plans.

“As the Senate debates the nomination of the next head of the Federal Reserve, there is no more appropriate time to provide Congress with additional oversight and scrutiny of the actions and decisions of the central bank,” Paul wrote.

Yellen, currently the Fed’s vice chair, is expected to be confirmed, but Paul’s hold could complicate the process if Republicans decide to rally around a call for a vote on his legislation. In order to get around a hold, 60 votes would be needed.

A version of the bill passed the House last year on a 327-98 vote.

The bill would authorize the Government Accountability Office to audit how the central bank implements monetary policy.

Federal Reserve officials, including current Chairman Ben Bernanke, oppose the bill, arguing it would threaten the central bank’s independence by adding a new dimension of political pressure to its monetary policy decisions.

The idea of a Federal Reserve “audit” is something that originated with Senator Paul’s father years ago, and indeed was a central part of the elder Paul’s Presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012 but never really got anywhere until the GOP took control of the House in 2010. Some version of the bill has passed in that body at least twice since then, but in both cases it’s gotten nowhere in the Senate. Indeed, even if Paul gets what he wants its unlikely that the bill will actually get enough votes to advance. In either case, I’m not sure that actually getting the bill passed into law is what Paul is aiming for. This is all aimed at his libertarian base and what many are seeing as preparation for a possible Presidential run in 2016.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Even though I may be a pinko socialist progressive liberal I actually agree with an audit of the FED.

  2. rudderpedals says:

    In other news the everything filibustered strategy rocks on.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    @Ron Beasley:Yeah. It’d be OK with me if
    “it would threaten the central bank’s independence by adding a new dimension of political pressure to its monetary policy decisions.” I would welcome a little political pressure to worry about people and not just the banks. And Congress is supposed to provide oversight of the FED. But I fear that with Rand Paul involved, it would just be a joke.

    I can live with either Cruz/Paul or Paul/Cruz. Go for it guys. Please.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    Yes, business as usual up on the Hill.

    Federal Reserve officials, including current Chairman Ben Bernanke, oppose the bill, arguing it would threaten the central bank’s independence by adding a new dimension of political pressure to its monetary policy decisions.

    I agree. I do not want Congress – beyond their approval of the nomination of the chair – to have any influence on the Federal Reserve Bank at all.

  5. Steve V says:

    The GOP is blocking an Obama nominee? That’s unheard of.

  6. Scott says:

    Of course, the Pauls do not believe there should be a Federal Reserve System. They probably don’t care about an audit but view it as a means to an end.

  7. David M says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    In the abstract, auditing the fed might be worth discussing. With a Republican like Rand Paul involved, it’s not worth considering. I defer to Bruce Bartlett on why the Paul’s Audit the Fed is a bad idea.

  8. anjin-san says:

    A little more oversight would be a good thing if it was coming from competent people who put the good of the country above everything else. Sadly, the current GOP horror show in Congress has no credibility, and no competence.

  9. Tyrell says:

    I would want to know about an audit of the Federal Reserve. An audit that will be done by an independent agency and released to the public.
    I would also want to know about her plans for stabilizing the dollar.
    I want to hear her explanation of the mysterious pictures and signs on our currency: an eye, a pyramid, Latin words, a key, the recurrence of 13, pictures of a spider and a skull. What is going on here?

  10. anjin-san says:

    @ Tyrell

    There are secret pictures of Huey Newton & Eldridge Cleaver on our currency now. It’s true.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    I would also want to know about her plans for stabilizing the dollar.

    Umm … the dollar is stable. Anything else?

  12. Motopilot says:

    @Tyrell:

    I want to hear her explanation of the mysterious pictures and signs on our currency: an eye, a pyramid, Latin words, a key, the recurrence of 13, pictures of a spider and a skull. What is going on here?

    If you hold it up to a mirror, look for the words “Paul is dead.” I don’t think it’s referring to Rand Paul, though.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Motopilot:

    If you hold it up to a mirror, look for the words “Paul is dead.”

    No no no. It says “Tyrell is (brain) dead.”

    As to the audit and political pressure and all that, may I remind everyone how much the GOP complained about how the Fed was trying to get Obama re-elected by improving the economy? Who here wants to see the Fed reduced to a rump of today’s Senate? The House? Do you really want the Tea Party getting involved in monetary policy?

    I didn’t think so.

  14. beth says:

    How about Congress show that they can handle monetary policy by starting small – maybe passing a budget first and apologizing for blowing 24 billion by shutting down the government over a fool’s errand. After a few years they can come back and talk about auditing (and taking control of, isn’t that what it’s really about?) the Fed.

  15. JoshB says:

    And now we have McCain putting a hold on Yellen because BENGHAZI.

    source

    There is no serious opposition anymore. You have one party that is trying its best to govern, and one that acts like the crazy person on the bus that pooped their pants.

  16. Tyrell says:

    @beth: How about trillions spent on so called “stimulus” funding? Yet a lot of it unaccounted for or going to junk projects that employed few people.
    Enough money to pay off everyone’s credit cards and college loans. Or enough to start a fund that gives everyone tuition free college.

  17. Rob in CT says:

    @Steve V:

    This. At this point, I just roll my eyes.

  18. Rick Almeida says:

    I, for one, am eagerly anticipating the 2016 primary battle between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

  19. al-Ameda says:

    @Motopilot:

    If you hold it up to a mirror, look for the words “Paul is dead.” I don’t think it’s referring to Rand Paul, though.

    Actually it is a proven fact that if you take a $100 bill, flip it over to the back side, place it in a microwave, set the timer for 66 seconds, and start it up – as the bill rotates you will hear, in a voice that sounds like Dan Rather, a faint “Kenneth, what is the frequency?”

  20. Ernieyeball says:

    @Tyrell: I want to hear her explanation of the mysterious pictures and signs on our currency: an eye, a pyramid, Latin words, a key, the recurrence of 13, pictures of a spider and a skull. What is going on here?

    It is Halloween. This could be the infamous Dr. Eldon Tyrell of Bladerunner. Better look out!

  21. Ernieyeball says:

    @Tyrell: Enough money to pay off everyone’s credit cards and college loans.

    On another note. Why should my taxes go to pay off the obligations of those who are overextended?
    I’m sure the IRS will let me keep what I owe next April so I can pay off my debt!

  22. Tyrell says:

    @Ernieyeball: But I’m still wondering about that pyramid ?

  23. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “But I’m still wondering about that pyramid ? ”

    Yes, if only there were some magic device you could type your questions into and receive answers. And to make it better, imagine that it is somehow associated with the very computer and internet connection you use to access this site. What a wonderful world this would be then!