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Senator Rand Paul re-introduces ‘Audit the Fed’ bill

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Republican Senator Rand Paul, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, on Wednesday re-introduced a bill that would expose the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy discussions and decisions to a congressional audit.

The Kentucky senator’s move to re-introduce the bill, along with 30 co-sponsors, comes as Republican lawmakers and some Democrats increase their efforts to rein in the U.S. central bank and make it more transparent.

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The Fed gained broad regulatory powers and implemented massive stimulus measures after the 2007-2009 financial crisis, expanding its balance sheet to $4.5 trillion. (To read more about this, click on).

Republican Congressman Massie Thomas of Kentucky introduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives earlier this month.

The moves are a continuation of last year’s congressional efforts to subject the Fed to a full audit, in addition to other measures proposed by lawmakers that would limit the central bank’s authority.

The Fed is subject to various audits, including reviews by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). But since 1978, its monetary policy discussions have been legally exempt from a GAO audit. Some politicians say it is time to open up those deliberations to more public scrutiny.

The Fed fears that a full GAO audit would reveal too much detail of monetary policy decisions made by the Federal Open Market Committee. Fed officials have said such exposure would complicate their public communications, hurt their credibility and stoke financial market volatility. The central bank also fears that efforts to impinge on its independence would hurt U.S. monetary policy.

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With Democrats in control of the Senate last year, measures aimed at the Fed all died, as they have in previous years.

But Republicans now control both the House and the Senate, meaning Fed bills have a better chance of winning approval and going to President Barack Obama. The president, however, is unlikely to support any major changes to the U.S. central bank.

Earlier this month, Republican-led efforts to permanently reserve a Fed board seat for a person with community banking experience succeeded. The provision was attached to a terrorism insurance bill that Obama signed into law.

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Paul is one of a large field of potential Republican candidates for the White House in 2016.

(Additonal reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

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French police kill man who threatened officers with knife near Paris

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A man who threatened to attack police officers with a knife was killed Friday morning by officers in the La Défense business district near Paris, police and union sources reported.

Around 10:30am (9:30am GMT), a security guard alerted the police to the presence of a man armed with a knife on the square in front of La Défense, according to police sources.

A three-man patrol then approached the suspect who started running in their direction and shouted, "I'll kill you!” The three officers then opened fire.

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Britons gear up to defend NHS from privatization scheme as Tories win strong majority in UK election

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"We will defend our public services—especially the NHS—from attempts to degrade or destroy them, and support, as well as we are able, the overworked heroes who keep them afloat."

After U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Tory party won a strong majority in the general election Thursday, British progressives mourned the "utterly devastating" result and geared up for a fight to defend the National Health Service from more right-wing budget cuts and privatization efforts.

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‘We’re in deep trouble’: FBI veterans fear Trump’s attacks will lead to violence against agents

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Law enforcement veterans fear President Donald Trump's frequent attacks on them are putting investigators in physical danger.

The president regularly attacks the FBI and other investigators at his campaign rallies -- where he calls them "human scum" -- and on his Twitter feed, where he regularly accuses them of treason, reported the Washington Post.

Those crude attacks have consequences, said one former FBI agent.

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