WASHINGTON House Republicans are hoping to force the Federal Reserve Board to be more open about its monetary policy decisions and strip away some of its new authorities added by the Dodd-Frank Act, according to Rep. Patrick McHenry, the House's chief deputy whip.
In comments made Wednesday, McHenry, who also chairs the Financial Services' House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, said restructuring the central bank was one of his top priorities, along with restarting talks on housing finance reform and renewing the government's terrorism insurance program.
McHenry noted that the Fed is facing pressure to disclose more from both conservative and liberal groups.
"Well I think it is clear that House Republicans want greater transparency and there is a meeting of the minds when it comes to the right and the left that there needs to be greater transparency and that we need greater certainty about our monetary policy going forward," McHenry said during an interview event hosted by Politico.
McHenry said the Federal Reserve Board has gained a higher profile with his constituents since the financial crisis and that Republicans "will be aggressive" in seeking changes to the Fed's arrangement, although he added that "there is a thoughtful way to be aggressive."
McHenry called members of the Fed "very high caliber people" who are making "sound decisions" but that there should be more political balance within its ranks.
"It is right from time to time we adjust those mechanisms we put in place in law and I think that is a balancing of the open markets committee who sets monetary policy for our country," McHenry said.
When asked if he was "over-politicizing" the Fed, McHenry said the Fed has become more political since the enactment of Dodd-Frank, which increased their regulatory powers.
"They have entered into a more political realm in some respects with Dodd-Frank, so checking that I think is appropriate. I think Dodd-Frank gave the Federal Reserve a number of powers that they should not rightfully have that will diminish their institution and make it more challenging for them to be independent going forward."
McHenry also said he hopes to revisit housing finance reform which has stalled after a number of proposals failed to pass the House or Senate during the current Congress.
"With a Democrat President and a Republican House and a Republican Senate, I think that is a good ingredient if there is a will to do it," McHenry said.
"What is clear, we do have to have housing finance reform," he added.
One of the more pressing issues, however, is an extension of Terror Risk Insurance Act which is set to expire at the end of the year. The law created a government reinsurance backstop for large-scale terrorist attacks something that reinsurance companies were unwilling to insure after the 9/11 attack.
When asked if an extension will be passed, McHenry firmly said "yes" and added that "I think it has to get done." He said that he thinks only a few small changes to the current proposal will be needed to "get it on the President's desk."
McHenry was also asked if Republicans will seek to make any changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, and he said that he thinks it would be appropriate to change the limits on points and fees allowed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's qualified mortgage rule. The CFPB's structure has also been a hot button issue for Republicans since its creation four years ago, and McHenry said he hopes to "make the agency more accountable."
When asked if he will be tapped to be the next Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, he said there have been discussions but nothing has been decided yet.