Senate Democrats blocked a vote Tuesday on legislation from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would have required an audit and greater transparency on monetary policy-making from the Federal Reserve, the powerful central banking system that sets interest rates and manages the money supply.
The bill won near-unanimous Republican support and votes from Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, but fell short of the 60 votes needed for consideration.
Measures to audit the Fed have met mixed success since the 2008 economic crisis. The House passed similar measures in 2012 and 2015 and the Government Accountability Office gained some oversight powers and performed an audit pursuant to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act.
Sen. Paul's measure would have authorized the GAO to review more information as part of an audit, but opponents said that would give lawmakers too much information and power to exercise oversight.
“We’ll see many members of Congress pushing the Fed to side with the bondholders and Wall Street on combating inflation rather than siding with main street and small businesses and workers in dealing with unemployment,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who spoke against the bill.