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

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Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulCruz, Lee, Paul demand 'full repeal' of ObamaCare Top House conservatives won't back draft ObamaCare replacement Freedom Caucus chair says he'd vote against draft ObamaCare replacement 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 LewJack LewOne year later, the Iran nuclear deal is a success by any measure Chinese President Xi says a trade war hurts the US and China Overnight Finance: Price puts stock trading law in spotlight | Lingering questions on Trump biz plan | Sanders, Education pick tangle over college costs 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 WarrenSenate confirms Wilbur Ross as Commerce secretary Dem leaders try ‘prebuttal’ on Trump Perez and Ellison an unlikely duo to help Democrats start winning MORE (D-Mass.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownSanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero A guide to the committees: Senate House bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions 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 HironoA guide to the committees: Senate Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Warren: GOP ramming DeVos 'down the throats of the American people' 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.