Kucinich Secures Good Government Victory
WASHINGTON - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today won adoption of an amendment to H.R. 2646, The Government Accountability Office (GAO) Improvement Act of 2009. The Kucinich amendment would grant the GAO the authority to audit the Federal Reserve's response to the financial crisis. The amendment was adopted unanimously in a committee markup of H.R. 2646 by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
"The Federal Reserve's unprecedented response to the financial crisis reached a peak of nearly $2 trillion of new credit facilities. But not a penny was subject to oversight and scrutiny normally applied to large government programs. This amendment will finally provide some transparency by giving the GAO the authority to conduct detailed reviews of the Fed's crisis-related interventions in financial markets," said Kucinich.
In August of 2007, widely considered the beginning of the economic crisis, the Fed had a balance sheet of $847 billion. The Fed's response to the economic crisis has ballooned the balance sheet to $2.198 trillion.
"The Fed's response to the crisis is the largest component by far of our government's recovery efforts. Since credit markets froze in August 2007, the Fed has intervened in 11 extraordinary ways. The last time the Fed intervened was 1934. Congress has an obligation to protect the American taxpayer and American tax dollars, and we rely upon the GAO to help us do it. This amendment will give the GAO the authority it needs to provide Congress the information we need to protect American tax dollars," said Kucinich
Congressman Kucinich had previously introduced legislation (HR 2424) that would grant the GAO authority to audit the Fed with bipartisan support from Chairman Ed Towns (D-NY) and Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as well as Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Ranking Member of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, which is chaired by Kucinich. The Kucinich amendment was a version of the bipartisan bill.