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

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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report 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 LewOvernight Finance: US reaches deal with ZTE | Lawmakers look to block it | Trump blasts Macron, Trudeau ahead of G-7 | Mexico files WTO complaint Obama-era Treasury secretary: Tax law will make bipartisan deficit-reduction talks harder GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system 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 WarrenDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her More Massachusetts Voters Prefer Deval Patrick for President than Elizabeth Warren Trump's trade war — firing all cannons or closing the portholes? MORE (D-Mass.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSherrod Brown says he's 'not actively considering' running for president Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens 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 HironoSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Kavanaugh fight roils an already ugly political climate Dem senator: Judiciary Committee doing 'railroad job' against Kavanaugh accuser 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.