Sen. Rand Paul’s Audit the Fed bill failed to clear the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. The support of at least 60 senators was required to move forward with debate on the legislation, and it garnered 53 votes, with 44 opposed.
The vote was almost completely along party lines, with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) breaking ranks to vote yes, and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) doing the same to oppose the bill.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent though he’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, voted yes.
Sanders announced his support of the bill Monday hours after Paul told Rare that progressives need to do more than “talk a good game,” including increasing scrutiny over the country’s biggest bank.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a one-time vocal supporter of auditing the Federal Reserve, failed to show up for the vote due to a campaign trip to New Hampshire.
Interestingly, Last year, Cruz said his absence for the vote that confirmed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General as “equivalent to a no vote.”
Former Rep. Ron Paul, who first pioneered Audit the Fed, had some harsh words for Sen. Cruz.
Matt Chisholm, a spokesperson for Paul’s campaign told Rare, “It’s a shame that politician Ted Cruz skipped a close vote on Audit the Fed to campaign.” Added Chisholm, “Once again, Cruz proved he’s more interested in campaigning than he is in passing legislation that expands liberty and increases transparency.”
Sen. Paul recently criticized some of Cruz’s views on the Fed this week in a piece at Business Insider. “Cruz … blamed the Great Recession not on the Federal Reserve’s artificial lowering of interest rates, but on its failure to continue pushing them down in a timely manner,” wrote Paul.
Paul further explained that Cruz has called for the Fed to follow “rules-based monetary policy.” According to Paul, “This means that (Cruz) still wants to control the money supply.”
Added Paul, “No true fiscal conservative should ever support the artificial lowering of interest rates—not in 2008, not now, not ever. Doing so is the equivalent of signing a death warrant for our country’s low income earners.”
Following Cruz’s own logic on absences as no votes, it would appear that he joined Corker as the only Republican defector on Audit the Fed. Whether the legislation will get another hearing in either the Senate or House is not yet clear.
Rare reported last month that Cruz had the third most missed votes in the Senate, right behind Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham.