WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not join her House colleagues Wednesday in voting overwhelmingly to pass a bill to audit the Federal Reserve. She also doesn't expect it to become law.
Pelosi told reporters Thursday that lawmakers who voted for the bill know that it really just amounts to a warning shot at the Fed that it needs to be accountable, versus a measure that will pass the Senate and be signed by the president.
"I think they know it's just that. Just a shot," Pelosi said at her weekly briefing. "It's probably not going to be the law."
The House displayed a rare moment of bipartisanship when it voted 327 to 98 to pass the "audit the Fed" bill by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Paul passed similar legislation in 2010 that became part of the final Wall Street reform bill, but he now says that the bill didn't go far enough since it only focused on emergency credit programs and procedural issues, rather than on the substantive details of lending transactions. His 2012 bill doesn't limit the focus of the audit.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he agrees with the "basic premise" that the Fed should be transparent, but raised concerns that Paul's bill does not exempt monetary policy and deliberations from its reach.
Pelosi echoed Bernanke's concerns. She said the Fed should be held accountable and that people should be able to have a discussion about monetary policy, but warned that the House bill goes too far.
"I don't know that Congress and the public should be ... having a political impact on monetary policy," she said. "The central banks in all countries have these responsibilities. If the thought is we're politicizing monetary policy, I don't think that's a good idea."
A Senate Democratic leadership aide told The Huffington Post that the bill isn't likely to get a vote in that chamber, though it may resurface as an amendment to another bill. The likely author of that amendment? Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), son of Rep. Paul.
Sen. Paul "will probably start insisting on this as an amendment to everything under the sun, so it's possible it comes up for an amendment vote at some point," the aide said. "It would not be the craziest amendment we've voted on."
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