Ron Paulís retirement from Congress doesnít mean Federal Reserve officials can rest any easier.

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., is moving rapidly to assume the Texas Republicanís mantle, pressuring lawmakers to get a tighter grip on the central bank.

Broun has replaced Paul in pushing for a bipartisan proposal (HR 24) to require the comptroller general to conduct a mandatory audit of the Federal Reserve. The proposal is similar to one sponsored by Paul that died in the Senate in the 112th Congress, after passing the House 327-97 in July.

While Brounís bill faces strong opposition from senior Democrats in the Senate, who see it as an intrusion on the central bankís authority, the measure appears to be well-positioned for a revival in the House, where members of both parties, particularly from rural districts, have argued for more aggressive oversight of the Federal Reserve.

The campaign for an audit of the Fed has been propelled by critics concerned about the declining value of the dollar. The audit would focus in part on the development of monetary policy by the central bank. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has argued strongly against the audit legislation on the grounds that it would interfere with operations of the central bank and its handling of monetary policy.
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