Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding on May 6th, 2010 :: 6:47:35 to 6:59:05
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Chuck Grassley

6:47:23 to 6:47:39( Edit History Discussion )

Chuck Grassley: the fed since they moved far beyond their traditional and primary mission of conducting monetary policy.

Sam Brownback

6:47:35 to 6:59:05( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Sam Brownback

Sam Brownback

6:47:40 to 6:48:00( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: i yield the floor. mr. sanders: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i want to just thank the senator from iowa, not only for his support but his long fight for trans?1rency. it's been a pleasure working with you, and i thank you very, very much. a senator: madam president? madam president, i want to thank

Sam Brownback

6:48:01 to 6:48:22( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: my colleagues, senator sanders and senator demint for putting forward, bringing this amendment to the floor. i'm a cosponsor of this amendment along wi several of my other colleagues. mr. brownback: i say as well to my colleague from vermont, my colleague from south carolina and others that are sponsors of this, this is an issue i hear a lot about.

Sam Brownback

6:48:23 to 6:48:44( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: when i'm around -- traveling around my state, which is often that i'm traveling around and listening to people, this is something people are concerned about. they are concerned about the monetary policy,hey are concerned about the money system. they are -- they are concerned. and i would note to people and

Sam Brownback

6:48:45 to 6:49:07( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: my colleagues in particular, the congress created the fed, the fed didn't create the congress. so the congress does have control over this issue, and i think we need to look at it and say let's look at what is appropriate and what'sroper here, and this is clearly one piece of it. i think the fed has done a number of things quite well and quite right, yet i don't see any

Sam Brownback

6:49:08 to 6:49:30( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: problem whatsoever with having a simple audit, that that's going to somehow reveal the genie in the bottle and let out all these secrets that are going to be harmful to the development of monetary policy. this seems to me to be a lot of -- a fair amount of overstatement on the other side

Sam Brownback

6:49:31 to 6:49:52( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: the terrible damage that this audit would do. thatoesn't seem right to me. it doesn't seem right to my nstituents. my constituents look at this and say i don't want to harm the development of monetary policy. i want it to be wise and good and sound, but i don't see how it's harmed boy an -- by an audit of an entity that's created by the governmen

Sam Brownback

6:49:53 to 6:50:14( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: that's created by the congress, so why shouldn't we do something like this? at's why i think this is a prudent amendment. i think it's a good commonsense amendment, and i think it will be well received by the constituents of this great country that i think are pretty wise on these -- these other

Sam Brownback

6:50:15 to 6:50:38( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: decisions that we go around. that if we'll listen to what people are saying, i think there is a lot of wisdom in that. they are saying we ought to know more about what's taking place in the fed. i know we would all like to move forward on financial regulatory reform legislation. i have some serious problems in this bill. i think the consumer financial product piece shouldn't penalize

Sam Brownback

6:50:39 to 6:51:00( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: auto dealers and orthodontists and others that didn't cause any of this problem. so i have an amendment, i have got other amendments that i'm a part of as well along with this one that i think we need to consider before we move on forward. even though i have some problem with the basis of the bill, i think it hits more main street than it does wall street. the difficulty is that we just have different ideas and beliefs about the best way to move

Sam Brownback

6:51:01 to 6:51:22( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: forward, and that's -- that's normal. this amendment isn't just about the choices, though, we have on reforming the financial sector. i think it gets to the heart of a more fundamental issue. what the american people have a right to expect and know from their governmental institutions. the fact that this amendment is brought forward by gentlewoman vermont, mr. sanders, and the

Sam Brownback

6:51:23 to 6:51:43( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: senator from the gentleman from south carolina, mr. demint, should be a sufficient warning and measure to make everyone sit up and take notice of what is it that's here that's so troubling? this amendment isn't about whether the legislation will put an end to taxpayer-backed bailouts. it isn't about whether or not the legislation went into too big to fail.

Sam Brownback

6:51:44 to 6:52:04( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: it isn't even about how to best protect the americaneople and taxpayer dollars. it's about something i believe even more fundamental, the accountability of governmental institutions to the people of the ited states and to the congress. i think it is important, as i stated, to rember -- i want to state this again -- one single fundamental reality in this debate, that congress created

Sam Brownback

6:52:05 to 6:52:25( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: the federal reserve, not the other way around. we created the federal reserve system to serve the interests of the citizens of this nation, not to serve the interest of large financial institutions. in establishing the federal reserve, congress recognized the importance of a central bank that could operate with independence to assure the orderly functioning of the banking system and to maintain

Sam Brownback

6:52:26 to 6:52:46( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: price stability. that's the core function of the fed. more recently, the federal reserve mandate was expanded to charge them with maintaining price stability and maximum employment. that was an expansion piece that was added. the government accountability office is also a creation of congress. g.a.o. is an independent and nonpartisan agency that works for congress.

Sam Brownback

6:52:47 to 6:53:07( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: what is g.a.o.'s mission? g.a.o.'s mission is to support the congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the american people. now, in my view, the real issue here is whether or not you believe that the congress has

Sam Brownback

6:53:08 to 6:53:28( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: the right to ask g.a.o., in many respects our auditor to review actions and activities of an institutiothat we, the congress, created. i certainly understand the importance of the federal reserve's independence in the execution of monetary policy. i understand and i support that. i understand the importance of not interfering with the operation of the fomc. that is n what this amendment

Sam Brownback

6:53:29 to 6:53:49( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: is attempting to do. that is not my intention. i'm confident as well it's not the intention of the main sponsors of thismendment. but i do think it is relevant to know whether the federal reserve is operating in a manner that is consistent with its statutory authority. i do think it is relevant to know whether the federal reserve is following its own established

Sam Brownback

6:53:50 to 6:54:11( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: rules and procedures or if it is just making it up as it goes along. i do think it is relevant for congress to know who was involved in decisions to take extraordinary measures by exercising emergency powers, as well as who was and was not consulted before those actions were taken. those are prudent and proper things for us to know. i think it is equally important

Sam Brownback

6:54:12 to 6:54:32( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: to know whether or not the policy statements and subsequent minutes of fomc meetings accurately reflect what went on in those meetings. recent news reports surrounding the release of transcripts from 2004 meetings of the fed contain some serious distressing information. those reports reveal that as far

Sam Brownback

6:54:33 to 6:54:55( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: back as 2004, there were significant concerns raised by regional reserve bank presidents about an emerging housing bubble that indeed did emerge and burst. did we see any indication of that in the meeting minutes or the policy statements? we did not. and what that tells me is that

Sam Brownback

6:54:56 to 6:55:16( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: the minutes did not accurately accurately -- i will even say they didn't directly portray what went on in the meetings. i don't believe that's right. disturbingly, the transcripts reveal that the federal reserve bank president from atlanta warned that, quote -- "a number of folks are expressing growing concern about potential

Sam Brownback

6:55:17 to 6:55:38( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: overbuilding and worrisome speculation in the real estate markets, especially in florida. entire condo projects and upscale residential lots are being presold before any construction with buyers freely admitting that they have no intention of occupying the units or building on the land but rather are countingn flipping the properties, selling them quickly at higher prices." end of quote.

Sam Brownback

6:55:39 to 6:55:59( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: that's a direct quote. disconcertingly, at the same meeting, the former chairman of the board of governors, gropes greenspan, made the following statement -- "we run the risk by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate. in this regard, it is possible lose control of a process that only we fully understand."

Sam Brownback

6:56:00 to 6:56:20( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: let me repeat that quote. this is from chairman, former chairman greenspan -- "we run the risks by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument of inducing people to join in on debate that in this regard it is possible to lose control of the process that only we, the federal reserve board, friewl understand. "-- fully understand."

Sam Brownback

6:56:21 to 6:56:41( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: i serve as the ranking member of the joint economic committee. senator demint is also a member of our committee. we believe in the free enterprise system. we recognize the support of the strong financial system. yet a fundamental requirement for the orderly operation of free markets is transparency and accurate reporting information.

Sam Brownback

6:56:42 to 6:57:02( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: i think the suggestion that only the federal reserve was capable of, quote, fully understanding is evidence enough that this amendment is necessary. congress needs to demandhange and greater accountability so people can have more information. what if the people had known about this debate going on at the federal reserve as the

Sam Brownback

6:57:03 to 6:57:23( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: housing bubble was developing? how would people have acted? my guess is they would have acted quite fluently in saying the federal reserve is concerned about this, this is legitimate information. maybe we should pull back on housing investments, maybe we should be watching this as well. i think people can get it. they need the information,

Sam Brownback

6:57:24 to 6:57:45( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: though. this amendment doesn't address the issue of time delay in releasing transcripts. i do believe that the current five years which amounts to almost six in many cases is indefensible between the actual minutes and them being released. five years. in between the actual minutes and their being released to the public. in my judgment, that time limit

Sam Brownback

6:57:46 to 6:58:06( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: should be reduced to no more than two years. members of this body should have access to these and other transcripts before we were asked to reconfirm the current chairman of the federal reserve board of governors, and i would suggest it would have been helpful to have had accesso this information before the housing market collapse and before it turned into a financial crisis.

Sam Brownback

6:58:07 to 6:58:27( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: madam president, the american people are mad at washington, they are mad at the governmental institutions that they view as increasingly unresponsive and unaccountable. let's take this step in the direction of transparency, accountability and disclosure of information. the american people have a right

Sam Brownback

6:58:28 to 6:58:49( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: to know whether their interest were protected or simply placed on the back shelf, they have a right to know the information. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and i urge the federal reserve to work with us to address real concerns about this amendment rather than trying to defeat it or amend it with the purpose of making it a symbolic and meaningless gesture.

Sam Brownback

6:58:50 to 6:59:06( Edit History Discussion )

Sam Brownback: let's remind the federal reserve board of governors that they are not the only people capable of fully understanding issues on which i or all of our economic future depends. mr. president, i yield the

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