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View From the Capitol: Pushing for an audit of the Federal ReservePosted Sunday, July 29, 2012, at 8:06 AM
Many citizens of Missouri's Fourth District have been asking Congress to audit the Federal Reserve. This week, I was joined by my U.S. House colleagues who supported a piece of legislation I co-sponsor -- We voted to remove restrictions that stand in the way of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducting a full audit of the Federal Reserve.
Under current regulations, the GAO cannot audit transactions for or with foreign central banks, governments and international organizations; deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy matters; transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee; and various discussions or communications. It is my view that the Fed should be accountable to the American people and to Congress. But while Congress has constitutional authority over the nation's money, lawmakers are prohibited from looking into how the Fed decides and carries out monetary policy. Our legislation requires a one-time GAO audit of the Fed to be completed and submitted to Congress within 12 months. Additional GAO audits could then be performed without restriction.
The Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury have been behind more than $16 trillion in bailouts and loans, with the Fed continuing to refuse to fully disclose the details of its emergency lending. Allowing the Fed to operate in secrecy is not wise. Congress has a responsibility to conduct oversight and to hold the Fed accountable as its monetary policy affects every American. Having passed the House, the audit the Fed legislation now moves to the Senate for its consideration.
On another matter, the House passed H.R. 4078 to ease the red tape regulations that are strangling business. I spoke at a Capitol Hill news conference, sharing the concerns of Fourth District businessmen and women who have told me of their frustrations with federal government regulations that stand in the way of entrepreneurs succeeding in business and hiring employees.
According to a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Survey, 74 percent of small businesses surveyed say the national health care law makes it harder for their businesses to hire more employees. Additionally, eight out of ten say they would rather have Washington stay out of the way.
Last year alone, Executive orders, proclamations, policy statements, proposed rules, finalized rules, and interpretations of rules took up more than 80,000 pages in The Federal Register. It is important to have rules and regulations in place, but this is ridiculous. The government bureaucracy has become too bloated and too intrusive. Since President Obama took office, we've seen a 52 percent increase in completed regulations deemed economically significant -- defined as costing the economy at least $100 million annually.
America's economy is fragile and can only strengthen if small business -- the engine of job growth in America -- is allowed to breathe so it can prosper and create jobs. The Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act is the cure for the illness that is "regulation nation."
Have a great week.
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Vicky Hartzler is the U.S. representative for Missouri's 4th Congressional District. She was raised on a farm in Archie, and lives with her husband, Lowell and daughter, Tiffany, on a working farm in Cass County. She is a graduate of both the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1983 and Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri) in 1992, graduating summa cum laude with a B.S. in Education from MU and a M.S. in Education from Central Missouri. For more information, visit http://hartzler.house.gov.
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