WASHINGTON – A proposal to audit the Federal Reserve that the Obama administration once opposed was on the verge of passing the Senate Thursday, attracting broad support from conservatives and liberals alike.

The administration withdrew its objections Thursday, saying it was satisfied the audit would not interfere with the Fed’s authority to set monetary policy.

The one-time audit would focus on the Fed’s emergency lending to financial institutions in the months leading up to and after the 2008 financial crisis. At its peak, at the end of 2008, the Fed’s lending totaled $1.16 trillion.

The Fed has become one of the targets of public anger in the aftermath of the financial crisis, blamed for not seeing the meltdown coming and for having what some perceive as too cozy a relationship with the nation’s largest institutions. The audit measure, proposed by Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, has populist support from across the political spectrum, from tea party activists to liberals and labor organizations.

The building momentum for the audit measure came after the Senate, prodded by President Obama, rejected a Republican consumer protection plan that would have diluted a central element of the administration’s financial regulation package.

Democrats and the president argued that the GOP proposal would have gutted consumer protections. The vote was 61-38, with two Republicans — Sens. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Charles Grassley of Iowa — joining Democrats to defeat the GOP measure.

Democrats have proposed an independent bureau within the Federal Reserve to write and enforce regulations that would police lending. The Republican proposal would create an agency within the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The FDIC would have to approve regulations, and enforcement would be left to bank regulators.

Republicans said the Democratic bill overreached and would give a powerful consumer agency too big a voice in banking affairs. The Democratic version of the legislation already contained some concessions to Republicans, and Democrats showed no willingness to cede any more ground.