Rand Paul eyes debt-ceiling fight in Audit the Fed push

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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE (R-Ky.) is mulling attaching his Audit the Fed legislation to a vote to raise the debt ceiling, Paul spokesman Brian Darling told The Hill.

Darling said that Paul, who is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, fully expects to get a vote on the measure in the Senate this year and that "there are numerous options to get a bill passed by itself or combined with other legislation."

"The strategy going forward will be to use regular order," Darling told The Hill. "If regular order does not work, Audit the Fed would be a great amendment to a debt-limit increase or any other piece of must pass legislation that hits the Senate floor."

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The move is a clear signal of how serious Paul is about getting a vote on the legislation that has garnered political blowback from top Fed officials. The proposal allows for increased congressional oversight at the central bank.

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen and other top Fed officials have maintained for years that the bill would undermine the central bank's independence and politicize its actions.

The Treasury Department will reach its borrowing limit — or hit the "debt ceiling” — around March 15. Most experts predict that Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewBipartisan bill would force Treasury to put Tubman on bill Top conservative rails against ‘clean’ debt limit increase Trump mocked Obama for three chiefs of staff in three years MORE will be able to use a series of "extraordinary measures" to keep financing the government until summer or early fall.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) has introduced Audit the Fed legislation in the House, where it is expected to easily pass.

It's unclear whether the measure would be able to survive in the new-GOP controlled Senate, as Paul would need to pick up Democratic support to overcome a filibuster.

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Trump bets base will stick with him on immigration Dems call for action against Cassidy-Graham ObamaCare repeal MORE (D-Mass.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell Brown'Hillbilly Elegy' author won't run for Senate Brown, Portman urge Trump administration to move quickly on a steel decision Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers MORE (D-Ohio) — each viewed as top progressives on the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction on the bill — have come out against the bill.

Paul's bill has 31 co-sponsors, with just one Democrat: Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoLive coverage: Sanders rolls out single-payer bill Where Dems stand on Sanders's single-payer bill The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Hawaii).

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has said that he will have a hearing on Audit the Fed.

Paul held a rally on the issue in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this month and he has fundraised on it, too. Paul's father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), was an early supporter of the legislation.