Washington (CNNMoney.com) - Congress is mellowing toward the Federal Reserve.
Last fall, the Federal Reserve faced an onslaught of congressional efforts to curtail its powers. But this week, the Fed beat back two major checks on its authority in the Senate's Wall Street reform bill, which was tougher on the central bank than the House version.
The Senate voted 90-9 on Wednesday to strip from the overall reform bill a provision reshaping the Fed as supervisor of only the nation's largest banks. The Senate, agreeing with chairman Ben Bernanke, now plans no change in the Fed's current regulatory power over banks - which includes large banks and smaller, state-chartered banks that choose the Fed as their regulator.
"Monetary policy cannot and should not be geared toward large banks based primarily in New York and policy makers in Washington," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, an author of the measure. "The Federal Reserve needs insight to the health of our banking system and economy as a whole."
Additionally, the Senate voted 96-0 on Tuesday for a watered-down version of a provision subjecting the Fed to a one-time audit of its role making cheap loans to ailing Wall Street banks during the financial crisis. The original, more controversial, measure would have subjected the Fed to ongoing congressional investigations.