What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : General : S 3217. (Overhaul of financial regulations) Vitter of Louisiana amendment that would allow the Government Accountability Office to more closely investigate the Federal Reserve/On agreeing to the amendment (2010 senate Roll Call 138)
 Who: All Members : New York : Gillibrand, Kirsten
[POW!]
 
S 3217. (Overhaul of financial regulations) Vitter of Louisiana amendment that would allow the Government Accountability Office to more closely investigate the Federal Reserve/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 138     May 11, 2010
Member's Vote
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Progressive Position
Progressive Result
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This vote was on an amendment by David Vitter, R-La., that would give the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ nonpartisan investigative service, more authority to examine the Federal Reserve.  Unreleased transcripts and minutes of Federal Reserve discussions would be exempt from examination.  Additionally the amendment would require a 180-day delay on publishing any information on Federal Reserve decisions to intervene in markets.  The amendment was offered to a bill that aims to close gaps in financial regulations, strengthen oversight of consumer lending and more closely oversee certain kinds of exotic financial investments.

Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said his concern with Vitter’s amendment is that it could end up politicizing the Federal Reserve.

“Again, the central question in many ways is exactly as he has described it, and that is the independence of the central bank, the most important central bank in the world, to be able to operate devoid of the kind of political influences that could ultimately change that Federal Reserve Board from making the kind of decisions that are going to protect the integrity of our currency,” Dodd said. 

Vitter said there’s “been a lot of rhetoric about all of the evil and dangerous things my amendment would do at the Fed. Let me directly address and dispel these notions.”

“First, there has been a lot of suggestion that this will politicize individual monetary policy decisions; that this will have individual Members of Congress bringing undue influence on those decisions. I truly think there are enormous protections in this amendment that will clearly avoid that situation,” Vitter said. “If this is an attempt for any Members of Congress, any individuals to control individual decisions, to have a direct impact on an individual decision, such as an interest rate decision, it is a pretty dumb, ineffective way to do it because the audit will not be out for half a year. Clearly, it will have no impact on that decision.”

By a vote of 37-62, the amendment was rejected.  Of Republicans present, 30 voted for the amendment and 11 voted against it.  All but six Democrats present voted against the amendment (the most progressive members voted no).  The end result is that the measure went forward without language that would have given the Government Accountability Office more authority to investigate the Federal Reserve.

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