(Update 6/10/09 – For the most updated article please visit STATUS REPORT: Ron Paul's Audit the FED Act, HR 1207 and S 604 )
This February, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced HR 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 to audit the FED. When I first reported on it in March, privately I was quite ecstatic that there were 11 co-sponsors, and three were Democrats. Why?
Well, Dr. Paul has tried this variants of this theme multiple times before over the past 30 years. For instance, HR 1148 was introduced in 1999 to abolish the Federal Reserve and obtained a whopping zero co-sponsors. This was repeated in HR 2755 in 2007. Result? Zero co-sponsors. Paul's new clever strategy has been to extremely limit the scope of the bill – just audit the books of the FED, nothing more – and has been able to tap into the wide-ranging dissatisfaction surrounding the October 2008 banker bailout, the Obama stimulus plan, and the outright socialization of our banking, auto, and insurance sectors.
It only takes half a brain and a pulse to get angry about the fact that the central bankers gave the American people the equivalent of a middle finger on Bloomberg's Freedom of Information Act request. The FED denied to disclose how they used $2 trillion dollars in open market operations that they executed outside of Congressional authority. Congress has no clue how the FED used the money either since that is not how the FED works. Without an audit, Congress also has no clue how much gold our nation owns. (photo)
So what's the big picture? Basically, the legislative process in Washington is usually as slow as molasses, and most bills die in committee with the obvious exceptions of very long lobbyist bills like the USA PATRIOT Act and urgent banker bailout-stimulus plans that no one in Congress admittedly even has time to read before voting on them. Ron Paul is a veteran legislator, and most of his bills this decade are quite short – HR 1207 is 446 words – and follows the K.I.S.S. Principle: Keep It Simple Stupid. Obviously he has not had a lot of success, but that's mostly been due to lack of cooperation.
In the case of HR 1207, Paul has chosen this battleground wisely – who wants to be on the “No” side with all of the popular sentiment against it? Campaign for Liberty and Liberty Maven, two sites that publish my articles, and many more like-minded sites have thrown all their momentum into winning this one small battle. Galvanized supporters have watched in awe as the number of co-sponsors rise from 11 to 33 to 88 to 143 at present, an impressive feat.
The New American recently quoted Austrian economist Thomas Woods's doubts as saying, “[The FED] is too complicated for most Americans. This isn’t going to galvanize people. I was wrong! He’s taken an issue that wasn’t even an issue, and he’s got a lot of Americans suddenly fascinated by the Fed, by monetary policy, by the Austrian business cycle theory.” My thoughts are that Woods is severely underestimating both the number and intelligence of Paul's supporters, especially when it is so apparent our future prosperity as a society is at stake.
The fight to pass HR 1207 by the House is winnable. Even if it fails, the rEVOLution will have learned a very important fact – which of the Representatives on either the Financial Services committee or in the House itself can be viewed as domestic enemies.
Disdain for what the FED has done to the American people is one of the reasons I am running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 15th district, and also why I have contacted my current representative multiple times to co-sign HR 1207. I published my latest letter to him, and a reader asked the following questions. As a wanna-be Congressman, I thought I would take a shot at answering them!
Q: “What does it take to get this bill out of committee and on the floor of the House for a vote?”
A: The bill is currently in committee and must pass before a House vote can be called. It is possible the bill will be tabled, or die, while in committee. To pass, the committee must have quorum – the necessary amount of representatives present to vote on it. The exact number needed to obtain a quorum is determined by each committee. Passing requires a majority of those in attendance at committee before moving to a House vote where a simple majority is needed – this is democracy at work! This process is described here, see page 21/67.
Q: “How many co-sponsors does it need to force that? Or does that even matter?”
A: The number of co-sponsors does not matter. However, it does indicate the expected minimum support a bill will receive on the House floor, so is a key indicator while in committee. While bills are in committee, they can be marked up and amended, which is why the simplicity of Paul's bill is key.
Q: “Is it really a matter of getting Barney Frank to move it to the House for a vote? What's the process? Does anyone know?”
A: Representative Barney Frank, D-MA, is the chair of the Financial Services committee of 70 representatives. He has not co-signed the bill, and traditionally is allied closely with the banking special interests and the FED, so no cooperation can be expected from him. Several weeks ago, Frank spoke about Paul, HR 1207, and committee politics – while boldly proclaiming that there is no inflation.
It is my guess that Campaign for Liberty and Ron Paul will take their time to have their supporters keep banging away on their local representatives to rachet the number of co-sponsors higher. Over 200 would be impressive, to say the least. At this point, page 20/67 states:
“Three or more members of a standing committee may file with the committee a written request that the chairman call a special meeting… If the chairman does not call the requested special meeting within three calendar days after the filing of the request, to be held within seven calendar days after the filing of the request, a majority of the members of the committee may call the special meeting by filing with the committee written notice… “
Since there are already three co-signers, the first step can be completed at any time. However, I think it would be best to target the remaining 6 of 29 Republicans on the committee who have not co-signed and try to pick up more than one Democrat (the other 40 have not co-signed) before proceeding. These six possible Republican banker-buddies are located in the states of NJ, NY, CA, and PA and here is a downloadable interactive list. Supporters of HR 1207 should contact any red-listed member as a top-priority (see below).
Rely on sites like Campaign for Liberty and Liberty Maven to keep up with the current status. When the bill goes to committee, it will be time to melt the phone wires on the phones of those Financial Services members still in red.
HR 1207 is not just an audit of the FED, it is an audit of your local Representative!
Jake Towne, the Champion of the Constitution
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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
As always, unlike the NFL, the author grants full permission to allow any accounts of, rebroadcasts, retransmissions, repostings in part or full of this article to your blog or anywhere else in order to promote the Restoration of our Republic.
Veritas numquam perit. Veritas odit moras. Veritas vincit. Truth never perishes. Truth hates delay. Truth conquers.
Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito. Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.
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