As lawmakers rush to wrap up their work for the year before Christmas recess, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is preparing to play the part of legislative Grinch. On Tuesday, Paul said that he is prepared to drag out Janet Yellen’s confirmation to head the Federal Reserve by exhausting the full 30 hours of debate if lawmakers don’t allow a vote on his proposed legislation to fully audit the Fed.
“We’ll try to slow it down or stop it as much as we can,” he said, according to The Hill. “We’ve told them that we will allow it to move forward and expedite it if they give us a vote on ‘Audit the Fed.’”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has called on Republicans to compromise with Democrats in order to advance the 11 nominees he plans to move through the confirmation process before the holiday. Reid has previously said that he is willing to keep the legislative session open until Christmas Eve if necessary to get the nominations taken care of.
Following Democrats’ success in changing Senate rules to allow confirmation of nominees on a simple majority vote, Paul cannot completely block Yellen’s confirmation. But the lawmaker does have the ability to hold up the vote, cutting in to his colleagues’ vacation time.
“I just came from talking to [Democratic] leadership, and I said I’ll be happy to get out of the way… 30 hours’ worth of debate is always something to use as leverage to get something else you want,” he said. “I’m not against the process of government moving forward. But it should be give and take. Right now, there’s all take on one side, and no give.”
In 2012, the House a bipartisan group of lawmakers voted to approve legislation providing for a full audit of the Fed — but Reid has not allowed the legislation to come up for a vote in the Senate.
With the 100-year anniversary of the Federal Reserve’s creation occurring Monday, along with a coming leadership change at the central bank, many supporters of Paul’s legislation contend that it is a perfect time for a Congressional review of the central bank’s dealings.