At the same time the Federal Reserve will be considering a historic interest rate increase this fall, it will face a barrage of Republican reform efforts in Congress.
Committees with jurisdiction over the central bank in both chambers have now passed far-reaching legislation to change the operations of the bank, which Republicans have criticized as lacking accountability and overreaching.
The House Financial Services Committee passed two pieces of legislation this week meant to overhaul the Fed.
One, authored by Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the top House member on the Joint Economic Committee, would create a commission to examine the Fed's role and alternatives to its conduct of monetary policy.
Another, introduced by Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan, chairman of the subcommittee on monetary policy, would seek 13 changes to the operations and structure of the Fed. "It is imperative the Fed changes its opaque structure and becomes more transparent and accountable to the American people," he said.
Many of those changes are also included in the regulatory overhaul package authored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Shelby's bill passed the committee on a party-line vote and was included in an appropriations bill.
Here's what is in both the Huizenga and Shelby bills:
* The Fed would be required to publish a policy "rule" stating in mathematical terms how it sets interest rates, based on economic factors such as inflation and unemployment. If the Fed's monetary policy committee deviated from the rule, members would have to explain why in congressional testimony and face a policy audit from the Government Accountability Office. In the Shelby bill, the Fed would merely have to denote any rules they use in making decisions.
* The power for setting the interest rate paid on banks' excess reserves at the Fed would be set by the Fed's monetary policy committee, rather than the Board of Governors.
* Chairwoman Janet Yellen and her successors would be forced to report quarterly to Congress, rather than twice a year.
* Yellen would have to testify on regulation if the position of vice chairman for supervision created as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law continues to go unfilled.
* Each of the seven positions on the Board of Governors would come with its own staff, reducing reliance on the chairwoman's staff and possibly facilitating greater dissent within the Fed.
But Huizenga's bill would go way beyond just those measures:
* It would change the composition of the Fed's monetary policy commission by adding a sixth rotating regional bank president, while taking away the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's permanent spot.
* It would venture into regulatory policy, not just monetary policy, by requiring the Fed to spell out ahead of time the scenarios used in the "stress tests" imposed on banks to determine their soundness. That move is favored by banks but opposed by Wall Street critics, who fear it could allow executives to game the system.
* Furthermore, all regulations implemented by the Fed would have to undergo cost-benefit analysis. Not only the Fed, but also the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Treasury would have to give advance notice of any of their members participating in coordinating rules at the international level.
* Fed employees earning above the typical federal pay-scale would have to disclose their salaries and brokerage accounts.
* The bill would restrict future bailouts by curbing the Fed's emergency lending power: Such loans could be disbursed only in circumstances "that pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States," and would have to be approved by nine out of the 12 regional bank presidents, with regulators certifying that the institutions receiving the loans were not insolvent but instead merely illiquid.
* Lastly, Huizenga would remove existing limitations on the GAO's ability to audit the Fed, subjecting the central bank's monetary policy decisions and foreign exchanges to audit.
The changes range from massive alterations to the Fed's powers and role to minor tweaks, but they all face resistance from Yellen, who has rejected reforms on the grounds that "the Fed is accountable and we work well as an institution. I'm not sure what the problem is that needs to be addressed."
And while the House, which has a Republican majority critical of post-crisis regulations, will likely be able to pass what it wants, the Senate will pose steeper resistance. So will the White House.
Nevertheless, both packages contain some aspects attractive to liberals, such as the curbs on bailouts. And Shelby has pledged to push his legislation through whatever avenues are available.