Two Democratic senators have introduced a bill that would require the Federal Reserve Board to turn over $5.2 billion to the Treasury Department.

The legislation also would require the Fed to follow government budgeting and procurement policies and would require an annual independent audit of the central bank's books.

Congress would approve the Fed's banking supervision and payments processing budgets, but funds used to conduct monetary policy would be exempt from congressional review.

"The Federal Reserve has been allowed to operate without any accountability for too long," said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is sponsoring the bill with Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

The bill would force the Fed to relinquish its $5.2 billion reserve fund, which is designed to cover potential losses on its check-processing and payment system businesses.

A Fed spokeswoman said the agency opposes the bill. "These issues are not new, and the board has on numerous occasion argued against such changes," she said.

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