The House Financial Services Committee voted Thursday to approve a measure by Rep. Ron Paul that would allow Congress to scrutinize the Fed's lending programs and decisions about interest rates. If the bill makes it through, it would mean unprecedented exposure to the government and political pressure for the Fed. Paul, a libertarian Texas Republican, has tried to introduce a similar bill since the 1980s, without success. The Fed has long been insulated from congressional audits, and Fed officials argue that the move would weaken the institution's ability to make monetary-policy decisions independent of political influence. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) spoke out against the measure, arguing that the Fed's credibility with foreign investors could be damaged.
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