The Senate failed to pass a measure Tuesday that would have provided for the consideration of legislation to audit the Federal Reserve. Falling seven votes short of the necessary 60, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) legislation would have mandated an audit and greater transparency in monetary policy-making from the Federal Reserve.
The measure had near-unanimous Republican support, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) casting the only GOP ‘nay’ vote. Prior to the vote, Sen. Paul called on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to vote in favor of the legislation in an attempt to put their money where their mouths are regarding their alleged commitment to the middle class. Perhaps the most notable dynamic of the vote, however, was the absence of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Cruz, who just last month went on the offensive against Florida Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s absentee voting record, was not present for Tuesday’s vote, despite being vocal about auditing the Federal Reserve. His absence has drawn the ire of prominent libertarian voters and even former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.
In the first time he has gone on the offensive for his son’s presidential campaign, Ron Paul explained the historical significance of Rand’s “Audit the Fed” Bill and wasted no time in noting Cruz’s absence:
My son Rand Paul forced the issue and brought it to the floor. Unfortunately, it failed by just a few votes and Senator Ted Cruz skipped the vote to campaign. That’s not the type of leadership we need in the White House.
Paul then urged voters on the robocall to support “real liberty minded leadership” and help elect his son. Another prominent Iowa libertarian voter and self-proclaimed Cruz supporter had similar words for Senator Cruz:
God bless Ted Cruz, he’s a good man and I am doing my best to make sure he wins the Iowa Caucuses and the nomination. That said, I am deeply disappointed by his choice to miss the Audit the Fed vote. I think it was a terrible decision, both principally and pragmatically.
A Cruz advisor responded to these attacks by claiming that his campaign appealed to more than just liberty minded Republicans:
Rand is always going to have support among the liberty vote. But we have a significant number of liberty voters, which makes his case for candidacy weaker and what we have been able to do – which he hasn’t – is to compete in other lanes [sections of party support].
Only time will tell whether or not Cruz’s decision to remain on the campaign trail and skip the Audit the Fed vote will erode his support of libertarians in Iowa and New Hampshire. One thing is certain though: The Paul campaign is doing all it can to exploit this absence in an attempt to gain ground in the early voting states.
Stephen Brown works for the American Principles Project.