A third senator on Thursday placed a hold on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's confirmation vote.

In a tweet announcing the move, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) explained to followers: "I will oppose Bernanke and hold his nomination until we get a vote to audit the Fed."


DeMint joins two other lawmakers -- Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) -- who have already declared their formal opposition to Bernanke's return to the helm of the Fed. 

All three have questioned Bernanke's leadership, but so far only DeMint has stated his hold is conditional on a vote to audit the board.

Nevertheless, such a proposal is already under consideration in the House.

An amendment to the lower chamber's financial regulatory reform bill, offered by Reps. Ron Paul (R-Tx.) and Alan Grayson (D-Fl.) in November, would subject the Fed's decisions and communications to periodic checks by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Those audits would include any materials or meetings involving monetary policy, erasing a 1978 rule that exempts those proceedings from GAO oversight.

That amendment, however, has only cleared committee; its future remains tied to the House's larger regulatory proposal. And while the provision has so far scored dozens of supporters in the House, it is unclear how it might fare in the Senate.

Interestingly enough, Bernanke himself opposes any measure to subject the Fed to oversight of monetary policy -- a position he repeated during his confirmation hearing on Thursday.

"I believe Congress should have all the information it needs about the Fed Reserve's operations... to have appropriate oversight...," Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee.

"So, to be very very clear... I welcome transparency," the chairman added. "I am, however, concerned with the auditing of monetary policy. What that means is that the GAO would be empowered... to look at all the policy materials prepared by staff, to interview members, and to basically second guess the Federal Reserve's decision in short order with very few protections."