October 13th, 2013
10:14 AM ET
6 months ago

Rand Paul: Obama is trying to ‘scare people’ on debt ceiling

Updated 2:32 p.m. ET, 10/13/2013

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama should not be using scare tactics as the government approaches a deadline to raise the federal debt ceiling, Sen. Rand Paul argued Sunday.

The Kentucky Republican said if Democrats end up insisting on increasing spending limits as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, then it will be considered a “nonstarter” by Senate Republicans.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Paul said “the one thing” he cannot accept - as Congress negotiates a deal to halt current stalemates over the budget and national debt - is to exceed the spending caps put into place by a series of forced budget cuts, known in Washington as the sequester.

“It’s funny, (Democrats are) all about Obamacare being the law of the land, but so is the sequester,” he told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.

'Cordial' shutdown talks under way in Senate

While the cuts went into place earlier this year, a second round is scheduled to take effect in January unless there is some agreement on spending on Capitol Hill.

But Paul, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said the current spending limits from the sequester are needed to help bring fiscal responsibility to the nation’s capital.

“If we get rid of that, it's a terrible step in the wrong direction,” he said.

He added that a possible proposal to exceed sequester level spending caps would be a new change in policy for Senate Democrats, who have been pushing for a debt ceiling bill with no strings attached. The Treasury Department says it will be unable to pay the government's bills unless the debt limit is increased by Thursday.

“We're seeing that the Senate Democrats are getting greedy about this whole thing,” he said.

Paul said he doesn't think it's a good idea to pass the deadline, but he also argued the president was taking a drastic approach in his warnings about a possible default.

"It's irresponsible for him to scare people," he said. "He should be the opposite. The leader of the country should be soothing the markets and saying we will always pay the interest on our debt."

The White House has repeatedly warned of the potential consequences of passing the deadline to raise the debt limit. Last week, Obama accused Republicans of saying if they don’t get “100% of their way” in the current negotiations, “they are going to default on America’s debt so that America for the first time in history does not pay its bills.”

“That is not something I will do,” he continued. “We’re not going to establish that pattern.”

But Paul argued the country has enough money to pay the interest on its debt and “there’s absolutely no reason ever to default, and a good leader would be saying we will never default.”

“Not raising the debt ceiling means you have to balance your budget,” he added. “It doesn't mean you have to default.”

One Democratic leadership aide told CNN’s Dana Bash that Democrats are not trying to move the spending levels as a condition to reopening the government in the short term (now through the end of the year). But if Republicans and Democrats end up sitting down for a long-term budget deal after the government opens and after the debt ceiling is raised, then a provision to get rid of the spending limits may become part of those separate talks, the aide said.


Filed under: Debt • Government Shutdown • Rand Paul
soundoff (664 Responses)
  1. Skarphace

    “It’s funny, (Democrats are) all about Obamacare being the law of the land, but so is the sequester,” said Paul.

    Exactly, and since Republicans are insisting on repealing one law (the ACA), then the Democrats can too. If we are going to go that route, where laws are repealed not through the normal legal process but through budget and debt ceiling negotiations, then each side should be able to pick a law to repeal. Whats fair is fair.

    October 13, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Greg

    The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

    October 13, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Guest

    Rand Paul is right, our interest debts are only about 25B a month and we take in 250B in taxes. However, the governemtn does chose to spend about 300B a month so some things would have to be cut back to balance the budget, foreign aid, studies of shimp on treadmills maybe? Yea it was hurt some but someday there won't be money to pay the interest the way we are going, then we will default in a catastrophe way.

    October 13, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. cpathenry

    I do not need anyone beyond Rand Paul to scare me any worse than he does. Can we trade him in for a loyal American Citizen or two

    October 13, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. SaneGOP

    There is obviously one party trying to spread 'fear' and using it as a tactic. What is it called when you try to use terror to achieve political gain or make a political statement again?

    October 13, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Greenspam

    The U.S. wants to keep as many as 10,000 troops in the country to go after the remnants of al-Qaeda, but if no agreement is signed, all U.S. troops would have to leave by Dec. 31, 2014. President Barack Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press he would be comfortable with a full pullout of U.S. troops.

    October 13, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. onlymho

    all that is needed is to limit spending to the amount of taxes collected – no debt ceiling concerns

    October 13, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. rep

    if anyone out there wants to punch Rand Paul in the face it's OK with me. Just fyi...

    October 13, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. texasnotea

    Every day since Obama's first election republicans go on TV or radio and scare Americans saying things like "if Obama is elected the world will end", "Obama is a Muslim","Obama wasn't born here"."Obamacare will destroy America".... Just a few and there are hundreds more of these lies told by the gop just to scare people. It is time for republicans to work with the government and President we have , not the government they wished we had. You lost fair and square,face it!

    October 13, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. glenview0818

    I don't agree with the government shutdown, but I do agree that the Obama administration is using some scare tactics to win their point. I don't think there is room for either, vote them all out.

    October 13, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. nc1965

    the 14th Amendment provides that the “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned,” and have argued that while it instructs Congress, not the president, to protect the debt, the president can act if Congress violates its duty.

    What part of “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned” doesn't the Republicans understand?

    October 13, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. TheTeacher

    Tell 'em Senator Paul, after all that gloom and doom that was predicted as a result of the sequester, the unemployment rate was supposed to stay flat, the economic recovery was supposed to slow down...Oh wait...

    October 13, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. ced

    Why just concentrate on the GOP when most Senators in this Administration are so morally corrupt and shameless they
    pride themselves in who can lie the best. Watching Schumer, Reid, Pelosi, Murray and Durbin pan the cameras every chance they get is frightening, yet there they are all together again and again. Obama leads the way in arrogance and his lambs follow. If they are the peoples choice this country is in deep trouble and reflects how easily someone can be bamboozled by slicks and cons. God Bless whats left of America, which isn't much after this administration opens the gate to big business and the 3rd world. These 5 Senators are the leaders of the illegals and give away of our country.

    October 13, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Ramon F Herrera

    Libertarianism is just a way to hide racism.

    The 2 Pauls have huge support from Neo-Nazis, Neo-Confederate, KKK, etc. That support does not bother them at all.

    October 13, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. TheLostSurveyor

    His Dad was my representative in Texas. The dude is nuts and the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

    October 13, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. silvereagle0412

    Rand Paul and the republicans are the ones that are using scare tactics. I hope every republican get voted out of office – horrible congress people and worse people.

    October 13, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. Jeff

    Obama should insist that a ban on ALL assault rifles is included in any plan. Refuse to sign anything unless it contains a complete ban on ALL assault rifles. Then he could negotiate BS in style just like the GOP.

    October 13, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Goony

    Barok Obama called Bush unpatriotic because of the debt. Then he doubled it himself. Impeaching obama is what's needed to save America.

    October 13, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. John Smith

    Well tuesday i and a number of my friends will be pulling our money out of American securities. Now it only amounts to about 150 million USD but it is a start. It is too bad the world economy will be affected by the actions of the dumblicans but hopefully the US bears the brunt with a run on their holdings.

    October 13, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. steve

    Larry L and Jim 8
    What you don't seem to realize is that there is a moderator (no doubt a cnn liberal) in this comment section that is not allowing most conservative comments to make it onto the board. You and people like you are just sheltered little sheep.

    October 13, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. ak_guy

    It is strange that everyone commenting on how bad Paul is are Democrats. Democrats are idiots. They believe that shooting a woman who is pregnant is a crime against the mother and "baby", but if a woman decides to have an abortion, it is not a baby. What a bunch of morons, a fetus when the mother aborts it and murder when someone else kills it. Democrats can't think for themselves and want the country to depend on the government. The Affordable Healthcare Act is a freaking joke. My sister in law is a nurse and they have cut her hours so they can afford this travesty of a law.

    October 13, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Scott

    Rand Paul is just another crazy person in the Republican establishment these days.

    October 13, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. qmtechguy

    Perhaps people aren't taking the matter seriously enough? Failure to see the long-term implications of a decision is one of the problems in our society. As private citizens, it's usually frowned upon when we default on loans we are granted, or fail to follow through on our obligations. We are expected to "balance" our check books. Why shouldn't we expect the same behavior from our Government?

    October 13, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. srichey321

    Obama is trying to scare people. Rand Paul doesn't have to try.

    October 13, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. sbaldwin

    Paul is about as credible as a hungry polar bear standing in front of us saying come on over I am not going to harm you, I just want something from you!!!! I think we all know that liking or disliking a political figure should not dictate our common sense and what our republican party is doing to the country is obnoxious and for one reason to get one man, that is not a normal situation and actual reams of collusion and prejudice, my cart is done, tea party with their group of idiots Palin, Cruz (PUPPET) we know qhat is transpiring there and of course a Rand Paul who wants to be president but does not seem to know how to go about getting the votes eneded, as for Cruz forget it, a puppy dog trying to play big dog.

    October 13, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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