Sanders to vote for Paul’s ‘Audit the Fed’ bill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday plans to back legislation from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would subject the Federal Reserve to a comprehensive audit, according to his office.

The vote will put Sanders in rare agreement with a rival presidential candidate in the Republican Party. 

In the past, Sanders worked with Paul’s father — former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) — on a version of the “Audit the Fed” legislation. Sen. Paul is carrying the torch for that bill, adopting it as a focal point of his presidential run.

Sanders, a noted critic of big banks, hopes to make it back to Washingon from the campaign trail for the Tuesday afternoon vote. Most Democrats are expected to vote against the measure, which is opposed by the Fed as well as the White House.

But while Sanders is a Wall Street scold, he also has plenty of scorn for regulators, such as the Fed, that he views as treating Wall Street with too light a touch.

In December, Sanders wrote in The New York Times that the Fed is in need of fundamental reform, arguing the institution had been “hijacked” by Wall Street banks.

Among the policy prescriptions Sanders put forward was a “full and independent audit” of the Fed annually.

However, Sanders did not mention a Fed audit in a major speech earlier this month outlining his plan to oversee Wall Street.

Paul’s bill would subject all the Fed’s operations to external review by the Government Accountability Office. Most of the Fed’s operations are currently subject to outside audit, but its monetary policy deliberations are not. Fed officials have resisted efforts to open those decision up to review, arguing it could subject the Fed to undue political pressure from lawmakers that do not like its decisions.

Similar measures have passed the House on multiple occasions, garnering significant support from both Republicans and Democrats. But when Democrats previously controlled the Senate, they did not bring up a similar bill for a vote.

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