- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul hopes a promised vote in January on a bill to audit the Federal Reserve can boost his struggling campaign heading into the pivotal Iowa caucuses.

Paul told The Associated Press in a phone interview the Senate has scheduled a procedural vote on Jan. 12 on a measure championed by the Kentucky senator’s father, former Texas congressman and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

The vote to end debate, which requires 60 yeas, would come two days before the next televised Republican presidential debate and three weeks before the Iowa caucuses. If the measure passes on the procedural vote, it could come up for final consideration.

“We’ve been trying for nearly five years now to get a vote on it in the Senate,” Paul said, adding he has about 37 co-sponsors. “Regardless of the campaign, it’s something we believe in, and it’s a big issue.”

Among the co-sponsors are Paul’s rivals for the White House, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.

The issue is popular among conservative voters. Paul is hoping the vote could lift his sagging poll numbers, which had threatened to disqualify him from CNN’s prime-time televised debate earlier this week. A state poll in Iowa boosted him onto the main stage. Paul said the debates are “very important,” but would not say whether he would end his campaign if his polling numbers knock him off the prime-time stage.

“We’ll cross that bridge if we need to,” Paul said. “We think our numbers are on the upswing.”

Paul returned to Kentucky on Friday after voting against a $1.14 trillion spending bill that President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday. Paul blasted the bill for bypassing the normal vetting process and doing nothing to diminish the nation’s $19 trillion debt.

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