WASHINGTON – A key watchdog in Congress, Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., who is leading the charge to audit the Federal Reserve and keeping an eye on U.S. monetary policy, says the nation is “playing with fire” by suspending the debt ceiling.

The U.S. House voted 285-144 to allow more borrowing for four months and to suspend the current $16.4 trillion limit during that time. The cap would be reset at the end of the extension.

Senate leaders said they would schedule a vote right away, and the White House said it would sign the bill, since more borrowing is what the president wanted.

But the measure also takes a swipe at the Senate, which under Democratic leadership has failed to meet the legal requirement and produce a budget since 2009. The new plan would withhold pay for members of Congress if a budget doesn’t pass.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., immediately announced that although it had nothing to do with the new requirement, the Senate would indeed debate a budget soon.

But in an interview with WND, Broun warned the move gives Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the White House “a blank check.”

“People are going to be in the streets like Greece,” he warned, and the coming “real fiscal cliff” will simply be “economic collapse.”

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When the money runs out, he said, the U.S. “will not be able to pay for the essentials, most importantly national defense,” as well as Social Security, Defense and medical personnel.

Consequently, he thinks “protesting and riots like in Greece” are a very real possibility in America.

He took specific aim at Obama, saying, “This president’s policies are going to make basic goods and services higher in price.”

Obama, Broun said, “believes in an all-intrusive and all-controlling federal government.”

“He doesn’t get it,” the congressman said. “He thinks we can spend at an uncontrolled rate, with total abandon to responsibility.”

Why is this happening?

“He’s a Marxist,” Broun said of Obama.

However, he said that’s not the only problem.

“We’ve got a spending addiction that both parties are to blame for,” he said.

Both parties are “in denial and they want to keep spending money and add more and more debt to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and they will not be living at the same level as we have.”

There are only three big issues Congress must handle in coming weeks, he said, referring to sequestration, or the automatic spending cuts that are pending; the continuing resolution on the fiscal cliff; and the debt ceiling.

But he said, “It is going to be a very big fight in Congress, where Republicans and Democrats alike are going to have to face the reality that we are broke.”

Spending cuts are the only solution, Broun insisted.

He said a good way to get things going would be to examine the Federal Reserve.

“We’ve got to audit it so the American people can see how awful our money is being managed,” he said.

Ultimately, he said the private group should be eliminated so that Congress regains control of the nation’s money.

“We’ve got to pull back the constitutional authority to control our money supply,” he said.

He is continuing former Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s legacy of seeking an audit of the Federal Reserve by introducing H.R. 24, the “Federal Reserve Transparency Act.”

Broun earlier told WND he’s an “original intent constitutionalist.”

“We should audit the Fed. Hopefully we get rid of the Fed, and I introduced a bill to do that also.”

Broun said he’s astonished the public knows virtually nothing about an institution with so much power over the economy.

“Congress has basically abdicated its duty to control money and the monetary supply and control of our money supply as a nation over to this semi-governmental agency that’s not really governmental,” he said. “In reality, we have had no auditing. We have absolutely no idea what they’re doing over there.

The GOP-led House easily approved the bill to audit the Fed in the previous Congress, but Broun lamented that it died on the other side of Capitol Hill.

“The problem is Mr. Obstructionist, Harry Reid, threw it in the trash can over on the Senate side,” he said. “So hopefully we can get the Senate moving on it by getting the American people demanding that we audit the Fed.”

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