October 13th, 2013
10:14 AM ET
11 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 (663 Responses)
  1. baronscarpia

    It would be interesting to have an accounting of the teabaggers' holdings in the equity and debt markets. I bet they got out or even shorted the market months ago as A.L.E.C. and the Koch brothers laid out this strategy.

    October 13, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. counterww

    Wow, we head up and up in debt and people here rail on the Republicans. You people just cannot think long term what this will do to our future, and our children.

    October 13, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. JY

    Raising the debt limit an issue Rand then stop voting to spend

    October 13, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. JohnnyZ

    Instead of Congress serving, they have taken the country and are playing with it much like an adult toy, serving each of their individual desires. We no longer have a government. We have a large group of self-serving and very well self-served game players who suffer no consequences while hurting the country they were elected to serve.

    Although they care not for the people, they continually speak of and for the people as though it is about and for the people. Lets stop the supidity. They serve themselves only. We could all starve and they'd still be telling the people what the people want.

    This "people" wants them all out of a job for inability to perform. Common sense says you get fired if you won't do what you were hired to do. How do we do that?

    October 13, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. Mymy

    Rand Paul in this interview. "We are spending money way to fast, faster then we can ever pay it back." Then when asked about the debt limit and paying our bills. "We have 250 billion coming in each month, we have plenty of money to pay our bills."
    Can you be any more two faced?

    October 13, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. Linda

    The Gang of 40 GOP Extremists House members must not prevail. Not now, Not Ever!

    October 13, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. Anthony in California

    No, Rand... your Tea Party is SCARING the WORLD.
    First you lowered the credit rating, now youre messing with world economic markets by threatening a shut down.

    Good riddance.

    October 13, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. shawnpm

    Obama tries to scare us because HE is scared. He is scared people will wake up and realize life goes on when the government is shutdown, and maybe we don't need it as much as they think we do.

    October 13, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Martha in CF

    Remember the last round of this debt ceiling debate--Boehner said he was happy-he got 98% of what he wanted. He just isn't a happy person-he is scared stiff that he might lose the Speaker position-he has no guts.....Now he wants the Senate to fix it for him...BOO HOO

    October 13, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. ak_guy

    As stated previously, Democrats are idiots! My sister in law is a nurse and her hours have been cut so the hospital she works for can afford the Affordable Healthcare. What a travesty it is that people are so naïve to believe that this is good. Half of the idiots who think this is a good plan do not know what is in it. They think, oh Obama says it is good, so I do not have to do research. These same idiot democrats think it is ok to abort a fetus, because it is not a baby, but want to charge someone for double murder, who kills a woman who is pregnant. What a bunch of idiots. A fetus when the mother wants to abort it, but a baby when someone else kills it. Pretty freaking stupid!

    October 13, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Ed Barbar

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

    No kidding. The way the Obamao acts (and the complicit press), its as if we have to open new credit cards to make the minimum payment on the old ones.

    October 13, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The dope bland must be right and all the USA and world economist and the IMF must be wrong?????? Only the stupid voters that support this teaparty loser would believe her!!!!

    October 13, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. SDcanyon

    He is 100% correct. Obama is not being a leader and instead of demonizing the GOP, he needs to show some character. He is just pointing fingers and promoting the obamacare fiasco. Arguably the worst presidential decision ever.

    October 13, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. john

    Its the far right fanatical radicals of the T.E.A. (Traitors, Extremists, Anarchists) party like Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, cruz etc etc that are the real ones scaring everybody and they have nerve to accuse others when its they who are behind all the trouble, its because they want end government anyway they can they are happy theres a shutdown, they are getting their way one way or another to reduce drastically or end government. The big problem is in the districts they are from they are heroes for shutting down the government and will get re-elected for it! You think things are bad wait till they get a President in office they almost did with Ryan, imagine a President that wants to put an end to the Government! Thats what you will have if they get their way.

    October 13, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. jib

    Seriously is anyone surprised – elect a community organizer and what did you really expect ? Elections have consequences

    October 13, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. Skarphace

    DuluthMN: "Democrats argue that we should pay for obligations that came from legislation legally passed by Congress......honor obligations. Fine, it's just that Congress is spending $600-800 billion more than the government is taking in each year."

    Well, that is exactly what we should be negotiating about concerning the budget and the debt ceiling. If that were the case, we probably wouldn't be having a government shutdown and be about to default on our debts. Instead, the Teapublicans want to talk about anything other than our deficit and our debt. They are focussed on one thing: the repeal, defunding, or dismanteling of the ACA.

    Dismantle the threats about the ACA from the budget and debt negotiations and we can talk. Until then, forget it.

    October 13, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Steve Hamilton

    These comments from Paul demonstrate why he should never be president. All mainstream economists disagree with him, as do businessmen and the Chamber of Commerce, both of which are threatening to withhold funding Republicans for the mid term elections next November.

    Paul also must be one of the Republicans who don't believe in global warming.

    October 13, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Jerry

    Obama just wants to kill the US and move back to Kenya as royalty

    October 13, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. wcb2009

    So tell us, Mr Paul... How should a responsible rep be acting right now?

    October 13, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. JerremyS

    IN my opinion the republicans are more scary than the democrats and the President. They just need to get off their kick on repealing the Affordable Care Act as it is law based on ruling of the Supreme Court. They need to do the job they were elected for and end this whole mess. If John Boehner would not let the Tea Party hijack the Republican Party as he has then would we really be in this position. Every last one of the Representatives and Senators holding this up needs to be replaced. I have never been one to be vocal but enough is enough they all need to go.

    October 13, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. jbird68

    nothing like a little projection, right Rand?

    October 13, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Dreamtime

    "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." Barack Obama 2006

    October 13, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. glenview0818

    The president of the US has the ability to override the payments in an emergency. And he will, so this is all the media making a big deal out of nothing.

    October 13, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Ron -IN

    THIS is what is wrong with politics today. Here we have a person with ABSOLUTELY no problem in telling the American public an OUTRIGHT LIE!! How and why do Republicans today say the Debt Ceiling isn't that important when RONALD REAGEN himself came before the nation and said it was not something to default on due to its negative effect on the WORLD economy. This is just STUPID and even more DANGEROUS!!

    October 13, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. mikeb

    Scare tactics ? Like calling the ACA a trainwreck and saying it will destroy the country , saying Obama is'nt a citizen and that he's a Muslim , "death panels" , Obama is Satan , he's a communist , socialist , nazi . Wow ! So that's how you don't scare people .

    October 13, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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