In an overwhelming vote of 96 to 0, the US Senate passed an amendment for a one-time audit of the Federal Reserve, the first audit of its type conducted since September 2008.
According to the New York Times, the Office of Government Accountability is to examine approximately $2 trillion in emergency loans that the Federal Reserve provided to the some of the nation’s biggest banks.
The audit would require scrutiny of the Federal Reserve’s emergency operations starting from December 1, 2007.
An amendment offered by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act (S. 3217) was defeated by a vote of 63-36. In addition to removing the special protections from audits for the Federal Reserve from US code, the Vitter amendment would have added new language to help preserve the Reserve’s political independence.
The major difference between this amendment and one offered by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “is that the Vitter amendment would allow for government audits of the Federal Reserve going forward into the future, while the Sanders amendment would allow the Fed to continue operating under the same audit protections they enjoy currently after one audit is performed,” according to Open Congress.
Mr Sanders’ amendment originally called for a full audit of the institution’s records.
Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), who successfully passed such a measure in the House of Representatives, referred to Sanders’ amendment as “watered down,” as reported by Think Progress.