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The House Oversight Committee approved a bill Wednesday opening the Federal Reserve to a full audit.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and has some bipartisan support. Under the bill, the Government Accountability Office would be able to review scores of Fed activities, including internal emails and the foreclosure review to be conducted under consent orders with the largest mortgage servicers.
"The Fed's balance sheet now stands at nearly $3 trillion. It is long past time for a real audit," said committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
The GAO conducted an audit of Fed actions and loans granted during the recent financial crisis. The report showed more than $16 trillion in loans given to both struggling U.S. and foreign banks.
"One of the things we learned from the report is that Fed management did not account for the risks," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said in support of the bill. "They showed complete disregard for potential financial losses."
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., introduced amendments to limit the audit, claiming the bill would open the Fed actions and deliberations up to political manipulation.
"The reality is subjecting these deliberations to audit could influence how they are conducted and even the policy chosen, thus degrading the independence of the Federal Reserve," Cummings said.
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