Representative Ron Paul, Texas Republican and author of “End the Fed,” will take control of the House subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve.
House Financial Services chairman-elect Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican, selected Paul, 75, to lead the panel’s domestic monetary policy subcommittee when their party takes the House majority next month, the committee chairman said today.
“This is the leadership team that crafted the first comprehensive financial reform bill to put an end to the bailouts, wind down the taxpayer funding of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and enforce a strong audit of the Federal Reserve,” Bachus said in a statement.
Paul, in an interview last week, said he plans a slate of hearings on U.S. monetary policy and will restart his push for a full audit of the Fed’s functions.
“We are ready to hit the ground running, and I look forward to continuing our work in the next Congress,” Bachus said.
Paul, who has introduced legislation to abolish the Fed, became nationally known during his 2008 presidential campaign. His campaign to audit the Fed picked up steam as the central bank deployed trillions of dollars in emergency loans in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Paul’s bill gained the support of 320 of 435 members of the House and a portion of the measure ended up in the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul enacted this year.
Attacks on Bernanke
Paul’s assignment comes as the Republican Party has stepped up attacks on Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and the central bank in the wake of the Nov. 3 announcement that it would buy bonds in an attempt to bring down unemployment and prevent inflation.
“Congress must act to rein in Chairman Bernanke and the Fed before they destroy our currency and permanently damage our economy and financial system,” Senator Jim Bunning, a Kentucky Republican, said in his farewell speech on the Senate floor today. “Public awareness of what the Fed is doing is increasing while public opinion of the Fed is falling.”
Bunning’s views are reflected throughout the country, according to a Bloomberg National Poll that reveals deep skepticism about the Fed.
Americans across the political spectrum say the central bank shouldn’t retain its current structure of independence, according to the poll. Asked if the central bank should be more accountable to Congress, left independent or abolished entirely, 39 percent said it should be held more accountable and 16 percent that it should be abolished. Thirty-seven percent favor the status quo.
Paul, who has been passed up twice before for the subcommittee chairmanship, may cause a problem for Republicans who have traditionally defended the central bank, Representative Barney Frank, the outgoing chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview.
“I think you’re going to see a significant dispute within the Republican Party,” said Frank, who was re-appointed by his party as the senior Democrat on the committee. “I do not believe that Ron Paul’s views on the Fed represent the views of most Republicans.”
Bachus will keep the senior Republicans on the panel in leadership positions. Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas will take over as the panel’s vice chairman, replacing fellow Texas Republican Randy Neugebauer, who moves over to lead the oversight and investigations subcommittee.
Representative Scott Garrett of New Jersey will become chairman of the capital markets panel, which would oversee any work done on government-owned mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Representatives Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Judy Biggert of Illinois will take over the financial institutions and housing subcommittees, respectively. Representative Gary Miller of California will take over as chairman of the international monetary policy panel.