The Senate today voted overwhelmingly to adopt an amendment, authored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), forcing a comprehensive review of the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending activities. The amendment passed by a 96-0 vote.
Though the measure was always popular, it faced extraordinary opposition from the White House, Wall Street and the Fed itself. Late last week, in a move that defused the opposition, and may have saved Wall Street reform legislation, Sanders agreed to limit the scope of the audit to emergency lending only, exempting other Fed activities.
That preserved the broad intent of the plan, which was always aimed at bringing the Fed’s shadowy activities during the financial crisis into the daylight. Under the terms of the proposal, the Fed will also be required to make public which companies received upwards of $2 trillion in aide from the Fed, and under what terms.
In December, the House of Representatives adopted a similar provision—authored by Reps. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Ron Paul (R-TX)—that would have required a comprehensive Fed audit. But though Grayson still supports a full audit, he applauded the steps that the Senate is taking in a statement last week. “There is deep bipartisan support for a full audit of the Federal Reserve, in both the House and the Senate,” Grayson said. “The Sanders Amendment takes a significant step in that direction. I will work hard to help Dr. Paul and Senator Sanders to get a full Fed audit in the final bank reform bill. It is time for America to know what happened to our money.”
Reporting by Brian Beutler.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com