H. R. 24, Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2017

Bill Summary:

This bill directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to complete, within 12 months, an audit of the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve banks. In addition, the bill allows the GAO to audit the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve banks with respect to: (1) international financial transactions; (2) deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy matters; (3) transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee; and (4) discussions or communications among Federal Reserve officers, board members, and employees regarding any of these matters.

Sponsor: Thomas Massie (R-KY).

Cosponsors: Jason Lewis and 108 additional Republicans; 5 Democrats.

Why This Bill Is Against Progressive Values

According to the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform’s Minority View, “The United States Federal Reserve System is an independent central bank, and its monetary policy actions are not subject to approval by other entities. This independence is critical to the ability of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve to pursue monetary policies it considers most responsive to the nation’s current economic conditions and most likely to fulfill its dual mandate of promoting maximum employment and stable prices.”

The Minority also contends, “There is significant concern that opening the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy deliberations to GAO audit in this way–including audits conducted without any significant elapse of time from the point of decision–could influence how such deliberations are conducted and potentially even the policies that are chosen, thus degrading the independence of the Federal Reserve.”