Congressman Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who has repeatedly called for dismantling the Federal Reserve, will be leading the House panel that oversees the central bank when the GOP takes over the majority next year, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The outspoken libertarian has introduced legislation in the past to abolish the Fed, gained conservative support during a brief 2008 run for president and wrote his own monetary policy manifesto, aptly titled "End the Fed."
Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., is set to take over the House Financial Services Committee from Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. On Thursday, Bachus announced that Paul will head the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee during the upcoming 112th Congress.
Just one day earlier, Paul sounded off on the Fox Business Network with his earnest opinion of President Barack Obama's tax cut plans:
“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.
“We are ready to hit the ground running, and I look forward to continuing our work in the next Congress,” Bachus said. On the agenda for the new Republican majority are hearings on U.S. monetary policy and a renewed effort in pushing for a full audit of the Fed's functions.
Bloomberg also notes that Paul's assignment comes as the GOP has recently stepped up attacks on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
“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. Only 37 percent favor the status quo.
Other notable Republican appointments annonced this week include Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas who will take over as the panel's vice chairman, replacing Texas Rep. Randy Neubegauer who has been tapped to lead the oversight and investigations subcommittee. Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., will chair the capital markets panel, overseeing the work of government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Reps. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., and Judy Biggert, R-Ill., will lead the financial institutions and housing subcommittees, respectively. And Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., will oversea the House international monetary policy panel.