Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Heartening news: The Washington Establishment suffers a defeat

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Greenwald:

Something quite amazing happened yesterday in Congress:  the House Finance Committee — in a truly bipartisan and even trans-ideological vote — defied the banking industry, the Federal Reserve, the Democratic leadership, and mainstream Beltway opinion in order to pass an amendment, sponsored by GOP Rep. Ron Paul and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson, mandating a genuine and probing audit of the Fed.  The Huffington Post‘s Ryan Grim has the best account of what took place, noting: 

In an unprecedented defeat for the Federal Reserve, an amendment to audit the multi-trillion dollar institution was approved by the House Finance Committee with an overwhelming and bipartisan 43-26 vote on Thursday afternoon despite harried last-minute lobbying from top Fed officials and the surprise opposition of Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who had previously been a supporter.

Grim details how key Committee Democrats such as Frank — who spent the year claiming to support an audit of the Fed in the face of rising anger over its secret and bank-subservient policies — suddenly introduced their own amendment (sponsored by Democratic Rep. Melvin Watt) that would have essentially gutted the Paul/Grayson provisions.  Banking industry and Fed officials, as well as the Democratic leadership, then got behind that alternative provision as a means of pretending to support transparency while protecting the Fed from any genuine examination.  Notwithstanding the pressure exerted on Committee Democrats to support that watered-down "audit" bill, Grayson convinced 15 of his colleagues to join with Republicans to provide overwhelming support for the Paul/Grayson amendment.  As Grim notes:

[Frank] urged a no vote, yet 15 Democrats bucked him, voting with Paul.  Key to winning Democratic support was a letter posted early Thursday from labor leaders and progressive economists. The letter, organized by the liberal blog FireDogLake.com, called for a rejection of the Watt substitute and support for Paul.

Grayson was able to show Democratic colleagues that the liberal base was behind them.

"Today was Waterloo for Fed secrecy," a victorious Grayson said afterwards.

The bill still faces substantial hurdles in becoming law, of course, but yesterday’s vote has made that outcome quite possible, and it’s worth nothing several important points highlighted by what happened here: …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2009 at 1:18 pm

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