I’ll be on MSNBC today at 3:30 — jh

Harry Reid’s release of the Senate merged health care bill threatens to block out the sun today, but there actually is an important debate taking place in the House Financial Services committee. The Ron Paul/Alan Grayson bill to audit the Fed now has 311 cosponsors, so the House really has to do something about it, but Mel Watt’s “something” is a bank/Fed effort to gut it.

So, FDL sent a letter to the Committee today, signed by Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, Andy Stern of SEIU, Leo Gerard of the USW, Jamie Galbraith, Dean Baker, Bill Black, Naomi Klein, Tyler Durden, Yves Smith, L. Randall Wray, Thomas Ferguson and myself saying “the Watt amendment is a vote for more secret bailouts” and calling for passage of the Paul/Grayson bill.

The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim, who has written about the potential impact of the Watt Amendment, was on MSNBC discussing it with Dylan Ratigan and Naomi Klein today:

DYLAN RATIGAN: How is the Federal Reserve trying to basically game this Ron Paul amendment which looks like it will pass, and then chop its head off just as soon as it makes it into the room?

RYAN GRIM: This is an immensely consequential debate that’s going on in the House right now, and it also tells you a little bit about how Congress works.

The Ron Paul/Alan Grayson bill has enough support to pass. So instead of trying to kill it, which they can’t do any more they come in with what they call a “compromise.” A serious with a capital “s” amendment, but if you look at the fine print of it, it actually just extends the secrecy of the federal reserve, and as you said it’s backed by prominent economists at the fed and formerly at the Fed. They didn’t say that they that they were wit the Fed when they sent a letter around backing it, but a Google search checking their resumes show that these are Fed bankers behind it.There is really unprecedented and very meaningful opposition to the Federal Reserve that has come together from the left and the right kind of opposing the center that is trying to hold.

Ratigan asked him if there was any hope of Watt being defeated:

RYAN GRIM: Just this morning the blog Firedoglake organized a letter that’s signed by the AFL-CIO, the SEIU and other economists saying we need to back the Paul/Grayson ammendment and a vote for the Watt amendment is a vote for more secrecy at the Fed, more secret bailouts. But you also have unanimous Republican support for this in the committee, so you have this left/right convergence, kind of a grass roots movement, that is trying to challenge the establishment.

I’ve heard from those who are on the Financial Services Committee that the tide is starting to turn. The letter was circulated this morning to members of the Committee and provoked some heated exchanges. Yesterday, the Watt Amendment was looking like a sober “compromise,” and today it’s being seen as the Fed’s trojan horse.

If you’d like to add your name to the letter calling for no more secret bailouts, you can do it here.