Things were definitely not boring at the confirmation hearing of beleaguered Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke today, where he stood before the Senate Banking Committee to decide on whether he would be awarded a second four-year term as head of the secretive agency.
One of those interesting moments came when U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, said this: “I will … object to floor consideration of Mr. Bernanke’s nomination until the Senate votes up-or-down on the Federal Reserve Sunshine Act.”
The Sunshine Act refers to S. 604, which was sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and would remove restrictions on auditing important Fed practices like their open market operations, discount window operations, deals with foreign governments and their central banks, and their funding facilities.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also placed a hold on the nomination of Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.
What a hold means is it would require a supermajority of 60 votes would need to be reached in order for Bernanke to be allowed a second term as head of the Fed. While it will make it harder, it is thought Bernanke may have the needed votes to gain a second term.
If this is the case, what is this all about then? I do think it’s a legitimate attempt to keep Bernanke from being given a second term by reminding lawmakers of the terrible job he’s done.
But more than likely it’s more of a move to remind them of the bill to audit the Federal Reserve, which is one of the more important we may see in our entire lifetimes.
This is why DeMint said, in a press release on his official Web site, this about Bernanke:
“Americans want a new Fed chairman who is willing to provide transparency into the Fed’s actions, who is willing to accept responsibility for the Fed’s mistakes, and who is willing to support true monetary reform that guarantees the soundness of our money.
“Mr. Bernanke has been one of the chief proponents of the Fed’s easy money policy that created the current financial crisis. He ignored asset bubbles, dismissed concerns about the weakness of the dollar, and helped encourage the credit mania that led to the financial panic. Even worse, Mr. Bernanke has refused to accept any responsibility for his role in these actions prior to financial crisis.
“I will also object to floor consideration of Mr. Bernanke’s nomination until the Senate votes up-or-down on the Federal Reserve Sunshine Act. This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, has over thirty cosponsors and would allow the Government Accountability Office to conduct a full audit of the Federal Reserve. Americans deserve to know how their money is being managed so these mistakes never happen again.”
As I said, these are extraordinary times, and there’s a growing chance that at minimum a bill to fully audit the Federal Reserve will be passed, as the one submitted by Ron Paul has been battled over since its inception, even though the majority of lawmakers support it.
One way or the other, the Federal Reserve isn’t ever going to be able to operate in the way it has in the past, and the secrecy surrounding its decisions will eventually be forced to come out in the open. Finally and hopefully, the Federal Reserve will be abolished.