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with 59 sen's voting yes in April, Rahm works with Fed to back no vote on audit
05-04-2010, 04:04 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-04-2010, 04:08 AM by h3rm35.)
#1
Thumbs Down  with 59 sen's voting yes in April, Rahm works with Fed to back no vote on audit
I guess when there's a great chance at "bi"-partisanship, the president wants nothing to do with it... leading me to believe that this whole "holding out for bipartisanship" on the healthcare issue was bullshit, and the WH only wants it when there's no chance of it actually happening. Aaah... politics... it's so much fun to watch nothing happen. My guess is that this won't end up surviving a veto. I guess we'll see.

Rahm Working With Fed To Beat Back Audit

The White House, Federal Reserve and Wall Street lobbyists are kicking up their opposition to an amendment to audit the Fed as a Senate vote approaches, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the lead sponsor of the measure, said on Monday.

Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who is shepherding the bill through the Senate, told Sanders Monday afternoon that "there's a shot we'll be up tomorrow," Sanders told HuffPost. (That's kind of weird... if you scroll down to the bottom, you'll see that he's counted as a no vote... why is he "shepherding" the bill? what the hell's going on here?

In the spring of 2009, Sanders brought a similar amendment to the Senate floor and won 59 votes. Eight senators who voted against it then are now cosponsors of his current measure.

"I think momentum is with us. But I've gotta tell you, that on this amendment, you're taking on all of Wall Street, you're taking on the Fed, obviously, and unfortunately you seem to be taking on the White House, as well. And that's a tough group to beat," said Sanders.

He's been trading calls, he said, with Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.

Earlier on Monday, HuffPost reported that former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan wanted dissent kept secret so that people outside the Fed wouldn't involve themselves in their debates.

"We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand," Greenspan said, according to the transcripts of a March 2004 meeting. "I'm a little concerned about other people getting into the debate when they know far less than we do."
(who the fuck is supposed to be listening to Greenspan these days anyway? Hasn't the world, and even the man himself, implicated this prick as one of the major players in creating the worldwide financial clusterfuck that's ravaging every continent? Who is this guy? Putin? The guy leaves his position running the show but still runs the show? what the hell?)
Sanders said that Greenspan's comments are all the more reason for an audit. "I think it just adds a lot of weight to what we are trying to do," Sanders said. "It just points to the fact that if there was more transparency then it in fact would have allowed the debate to take place about the subprime mortgage [sic] unfolding crisis at that point. It may have prevented the horrendous recession that we're in now and the near collapse of the financial institutions."

Democratic leadership has yet to decide if an amendment will need 51 or 60 votes for passage, but Sanders said he thought the decision would be made to go with 60.

On April 2, 2009, 59 senators voted for the Sanders-Webb-Bunning-Feingold Amendment that would open the Fed to an audit. Then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) did not vote and there are indications that his replacement, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), is supportive.

Meanwhile, eight of the 39 no votes have since signed on to a Sanders bill to audit the Fed or the amendment that will come up: Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wy.), Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) voted no, but has since been replaced by Republican Sen. George LeMieux.

With Brown, the Sanders amendment would have 69 votes. It has already passed the House of Representatives.

The Yes votes in Arpil 2009 (59)

Akaka (D-HI)
Begich (D-AK)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Burris (D-IL)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Casey (D-PA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Ensign (R-NV)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lincoln (D-AR)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reid (D-NV)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Sessions (R-AL)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Thune (R-SD)
Udall (D-NM)
Vitter (R-LA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

The no voters who have since signed on to an audit (8)

Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Hatch (R-UT)
Isakson (R-GA)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Wicker (R-MS)

The no voters who have not signed on to an audit and are still in the Senate (30)

Alexander (R-TN)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Bond (R-MO)
Carper (D-DE)
Corker (R-TN)
Dodd (D-CT)
Enzi (R-WY)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Gregg (R-NH)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaufman (D-DE)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Nelson (D-NE)
Reed (D-RI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Shelby (R-AL)
Udall (D-CO)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (D-VA)

(edit: for anyone who may think that HufPo is teeming with socialist Obama fanatics like I was, you might want to check out the comments on this piece - I was pleasantly surprised. He sure as shit isn't making it past 2012... then again, I thought the same thing about Bush in 2004...)
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05-05-2010, 11:33 PM,
#2
RE: with 59 sen's voting yes in April, Rahm works with Fed to back no vote on audit
Galbraith, Baker & Auerbach: White House Should “Reconsider Apocalyptic Opposition” to Audit the Fed

Economists James Galbraith, Dean Baker and Robert Auerbach write a letter to Larry Summers, urging him to “reconsider the administration’s position of apocalyptic opposition to the bill in Congress that would subject Federal Reserve operations to an audit” (PDF):

Quote:Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas 78712

May 5, 2010

The Honorable Lawrence Summers
Executive Office of the President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Larry,

We write to urge you to reconsider the administration’s position of apocalyptic opposition to the bill in Congress that would subject Federal Reserve operations to an audit. We have very long experience with congressional oversight of the Federal Reserve. Two of us joined the staff of the House Banking Committee back in 1975 — when Wright Patman was the most prominent backer of an audit bill. We helped author the Humphrey-Hawkins provisions of the Federal Reserve Act, enacted in 1978. One of us – a former doctoral student of Milton Friedman’s at the University of Chicago – worked on Federal Reserve oversight and investigations into the 1990s, under Chairman Henry B. Gonzalez. Our careers have been tied to the cause of establishing a reasonable, forthcoming dialogue between the Federal Reserve and Congress on monetary topics. At every stage, for 35 years now, the Federal Reserve has resisted.

In 1975, the Fed resisted regular hearings on the conduct of monetary policy. They were nevertheless established, under H. Con. Res 133, and written into the Federal Reserve Act in 1978. Those hearings continue today, and are widely considered a very substantial policy success – so much so that when the legal mandate briefly expired, the hearings continued without one.

Once the hearings were established, the Federal Reserve resisted giving to Congress its economic forecast for the year ahead – a resistance that was only broken by disciplined questioning at the Banking Committee. Today, that information is considered innocuous.

In the late 1970s, the Fed resisted releasing the policy directive at the end of each FOMC meeting. It preferred the silly practice of waiting until after the following meeting – even though everyone knew immediately from the movement of the Federal Funds rate what the directive was. Today, the announcement is made immediately, and nobody thinks twice about it.

In the 1980s, the Federal Reserve pretended for years that it was not keeping verbatim minutes of the FOMC meetings. This deception eventually caused major embarrassment. Now the minutes are released after a five-year delay – and the only consequence is that from time to time the public becomes aware of incompetence or deception that the Federal Reserve would prefer to conceal. An example was in the press earlier this week, as you surely know.

In the recent crisis, the Federal Reserve took extraordinary steps to provide liquidity to the marketplace, both domestic and foreign. These measures involved taking onto the Fed’s balance sheet trillions of dollars of assets – the precise nature of which remains, to this day – a closely held secret.

Whatever the merits of keeping this secret, we believe that under law and the Constitution, the Federal Reserve has no right to keep it from Congress. Congress has an unqualified right to review the operations of the Federal Reserve, as it does of any federal agency. If there is truly sensitive information – which we doubt – the Congress has procedures to assure that such information does not leak to the public. Information far more secret – such as covert intelligence operations – is briefed to the appropriate congressional leadership routinely, with no history of inappropriate disclosure.

We also believe that there is no case for maintaining such secrecy with respect to Federal Reserve operations during the crisis. On the contrary the extraordinary scale of the operations demand an extraordinary effort to be clear about what they were, what they were for, and why they were necessary. The Government Accountability Office – an arm of Congress – is the correct agency to review these matters.

The Paul-Grayson audit bill, now being introduced in the Senate, would set up an appropriate procedure for oversight of these and similar complex operations, for evaluating them in a reasonable way.

The fact that we do not sympathize with Congressman Paul on most matters — and do not share his long-term objective to “end the Fed” — has no bearing on the fact that on this issue, he’s correct on the merits.

We are entirely confident that once the bill becomes law, the Federal Reserve will resign itself to compliance, and will go on with its effectiveness unimpaired. What they are playing now is an old game, and there is no reason why anyone who has been around should indulge it.

With very best regards,

Robert D. Auerbach
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

Dean Baker
Center for Economic and Policy Research

James K. Galbraith
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Cc: Diana Farrell
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05-07-2010, 11:20 PM,
#3
RE: with 59 sen's voting yes in April, Rahm works with Fed to back no vote on audit
Ron Paul Says Bernie Sanders “Sold Out,” Sided With Chris Dodd to “Gut” Audit the Fed

Ron Paul has released a statement on Bernie Sanders’ decision to gut his Audit the Fed amendment:

Quote:Bernie Sanders has sold out and sided with Chris Dodd to gut Audit the Fed in the Senate. His “compromise” is what the Adminstration and banking interests want: they’ll allow the TARP and TALF to be audited, but no transparency of the FOMC, discount window operations or agreement with foreign central banks. We need to take aciton and stop this!

The audit is only allowed back to December 2007, which leaves most of the work of the Fed’s Open Markets Committee in the dark — they were the ones who were supposed to be watching over Wall Street when they were laying the groundwork for the collapse. And according to Jay Newton-Small of Time Magazine, there will only be one audit — it will not be ongoing.

Ron Paul and Alan Grayson worked like dogs to get this through the House. And the White House would not have gone to Sanders if they’d been able to peel off the votes to tank the amendment. But with 68 Senators having voted for it or cosponsored it in the past year, that was a heavy lift. Bernie was the weak link.

Moral of the story? Even when you have 60 votes, you don’t have 60 votes. We did what we were supposed to do. For a year. We whipped cosponsors. We beat back efforts to torpedo the bill. We worked with the libertarians to form a right-left coalition, the true “bipartisan” kind that you never see, on an issue that the public overwhelmingly supports: accountability for the banks. The votes were there in the Senate.

Bernie traded it all away. He was singing the praises of the Campaign for Liberty today from the floor of the Senate, and now they’re saying he sucks. They’re right. Ron Paul is calling for this to be stopped, but I frankly don’t know what can be done.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fed Audit Amendment Deal Struck In Senate

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will cosponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) amendment to audit the Fed, he said on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, though with modifications, the details of which are crucial to the weight of the audit.

Sanders had been negotiating a compromise with the Federal Reserve to come to an agreement on how broadly the audit powers would extend, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters.

Corker said he had spoken with Sanders and that the Fed wants to "make sure that the audit is not looking at the open market policy, where you're not looking at how interest rates are set." The White House expressed similar concerns earlier Thursday.

Sanders (I-Vt.) has insisted repeatedly that his amendment makes no attempt to audit monetary policy, but rather is focused on the trillions in lending the Fed has done in the dark.

The goal of the negotiations, said Corker, was to make sure "what you're looking at is the financial transactions.... It's my understanding he's working very closely with the Fed to try to get that part right."

Spokespersons for Sanders and the Fed declined to comment.

Shortly after Corker spoke, Dodd, who had been opposing the amendment, took to the Senate floor.

"He's absolutely correct on the transparency issues," Dodd said, adding that he wanted the audit "done in a way so there is no concern about the independence of the Fed being compromised in any way. He has guaranteed with his language here that that is no longer an issue whatsoever. And I want to thank him for that. It's a great amendment."

Sanders, on the Senate floor, hinted at the agreement. "Would allow the GAO to conduct a top-to-bottom audit of all of the Federal Reserve's emergency lending activities since December 1, 2007. In addition, the modifications require the Fed to put on its Web site all of the recipients of over $2 trillion in emergency assistance since December 1, 2007," Sanders said.

A copy of the modifications was not immediately available.

UPDATE: The modified amendment would allow a broad audit and would require a historic amount of disclosure from the Fed. In some respects, it goes further than the House version backed by Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), in that it requires disclosure of the names of all institutions, foreign and domestic, on the receiving end of Fed money.

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Board of Governors shall publish on its website, not later than December 1, 2010, with respect to all loans and other financial assistance it has provided during the period beginning on December 1, 2007 and ending on the date of enactment of this Act under the Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, the Term Securities Lending Facility, the Term Auction Facility, Maiden Lane, Maiden Lane II, Maiden Lane III, the agency Mortgage-Backed Securities program, foreign currency liquidity swap lines, and any other program created as a result of the third undesignated paragraph of section 13 of the Federal Reserve Act."

The amendment is here. If you spot holes, write me at ryan@huffingtonpost.com.

UPDATE II: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) will back Sanders amendment, her spokesman says. The White House is also behind the deal.
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05-12-2010, 07:47 PM,
#4
RE: with 59 sen's voting yes in April, Rahm works with Fed to back no vote on audit
This is the reporting of the passing of the gutted "audit the Fed" bill that passed the US senate yesterday. It came from an "Alternative" news site... I'm hesitant to believe that they're simply towing the party line, because they bash the administration on a regular basis, so that leaves me to wonder if they're just happy that things are actually getting done, no matter how white-washed or toxic they are. It's a sad, sad state of affairs.
Quote:Senate Approves Bernie Sanders’ Fed Audit

Posted By Zach Carter On May 11, 2010 @ 9:18 am In Democratic Party, Recession, Republican Party, economy, politics, poverty, wealth disparity | 10 Comments

The Senate approved an amendment from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., that would subject the Federal Reserve’s bailout operations to a one-time audit. The vote was 96 – 0 in favor of the measure.

A stronger audit, sponsored by Reps. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., and Ron Paul, R-Texas, cleared the House in December. The Grayson-Paul bill would subject all of the Fed’s operations, including monetary policy, to an audit. The two measures will have to be reconciled once the Senate passes the overall Wall Street reform package.

But regardless of how broad the ultimate audit will be, this is a major victory for good government advocates. The Fed has pumped trillions of dollars in the U.S. banking system since 2008 with almost no public disclosure whatsoever. We don’t know which banks received the money, under what terms, or who approved the transactions. No other government agency can spend trillions of dollars without saying what it spent it on. As William Greider empahsizes for The Nation, this is a fundamentally dirty business– many top Fed officials are active in the banking industry, and the relationship between bankers and the Fed is fundamentally “incestuous.”

The results from the audit of the Fed’s bailout operations will dramatically increase pressure to audit the entire agency, and reform a deeply corrupt institution. The Senate Wall Street reform bill is now officially worth supporting.

UPDATE: Immediately following the Sanders vote, Congress shot down a broader Fed audit proposed by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., by a vote of 37 – 62.

Article printed from SpeakEasy: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy

URL to article: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/05/11/senate-approves-bernie-sanders-fed-audit/
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