U.S. House Negotiators Rebuff Attempt to Revive Fed Audit Plan

A joint conference committee voted 12-7 against
Representative Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas. Photographer: Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg

U.S. House lawmakers negotiating an overhaul of financial regulation rebuffed an attempt by Republicans to revive a measure that would remove the Federal Reserve’s shield against audits of its interest-rate decisions.

House members on a joint conference committee voted 12-7 against the Fed audit measure backed by Representative Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas. The proposal, part of legislation passed in December by the House, was rejected during Senate debate and isn’t in the text of a bill lawmakers are amending in House-Senate negotiations.

The Senate in May approved opening the Fed to a one-time audit of its emergency loans and other efforts to end the financial crisis starting in December 2007. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank has proposed going further by requiring the central bank, after a two-year delay, to name firms that borrow through its discount window and participate in the Fed’s purchases or sales of assets such as mortgage-backed securities.

“Two years is enough to make it old history,” Charles Lieberman, chief investment officer at Advisors Capital Management LLC in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, and a former head of the monetary analysis staff at the New York Fed, said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio. “The Fed could probably live with that.”

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