October 13th, 2013
10:14 AM ET
12 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. Mike

    Our Liar In Chief and the world's most immature little child come in one small package. Our first White-Black president will go down in history as worst ever. Time for a woman to show how to get things done.

    Can't wait for Hillary in 2016.

    October 13, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. raul c.

    Paul why don't you look at yourself and your party's intentions first before blaming the President. You and your party are nuts and should be put in jail for making threats ..

    October 13, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. N

    A person meets House invaders with a drawn weapon. Is he trying to scare them. You betcha. Be afraid, Baggers, be very afraid.

    October 13, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. True Knowledge

    Study the responsibilities of each branch of government before saying stupid things. Study what the House is responsible for, what the Senate is responsible for etc...People blaming the repubs out of blind hatred instead of facts are idiots, the same goes for those that blame the democrats for everything. People that still blame Bush for everything are also nuts.

    October 13, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Jeff

    The republicans were planning this last time until Harry Reid tricked them into holding a vote, the vote passed, done deal.
    This time they (GOP) are all smiles on Meet The Press, they are really enjoying doing this to the country.

    October 13, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. omeany

    The GOP has no real leverage and until they acknowledge this we will remain in economic limbo...until Thursday when we plunge into the abyss.

    October 13, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Steve

    If Obama was up for reelection, this would go down much differently.

    October 13, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. rand paul scares me

    The thing that scares me is a group of terrorists getting paid by our tax dollars to ruin the country.

    October 13, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. 66Biker

    President Obama may very well be trying to scare people, but Rand Paul definitely does. And it's only common sense that people are scared of him. He's an extremist wingnut. If it wasn't for people like him (and his Father), on both sides of the aisle, we wouldn't be in the mess we are right now.

    October 13, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Balance_the_Budget

    Obama, Reid, and Pelosi all balance their household budgets. They don't spend more than they take in...to do so would be fiscally irresponsible. So, why do they demand the opposite for the Country...do they hate America ? Do they hate their children and grandchildren ? Why do they continue do demand that the US continues down the path of financial ruin ? Why do they refuse to negotiate a balanced budget for the country but, ensure that they have one for themselves ?

    October 13, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Jack

    More scare tactics from the GOP/RNC/TeaParty/KochBrothers/Wackos.

    October 13, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Joe Silva

    Ain't buyin' it Randy.

    October 13, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Dori

    Too late, Sen. Paul. Your Tea Party has most sensible people scared; NOBODY could scare Americans even half as much as they do.

    October 13, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Joe Citizen

    I'm getting so sick of Tea Party idiots like Rand Paul trying to justify their abhorrent, irresponsible behavior by pointing to laws existing that Democrats don't like. In this instance he pointed to the sequester (and, incidentally, I think it speaks volumes that apparently the Tea Partiers DO like the sequester). Several days ago, Raul Labrador noted the Democrats didn't like the Bush tax cuts, even though it was the law of the land. Okay, fair enough, but here's the difference: the Democrats didn't shut down the government and allow America to go into default unless laws they didn't like were revoked. The Tea Partiers are claiming they are taking these actions because Obamacare is bad for the country. Well, here's some news, shutting down the government and defaulting are VERY bad for the country. Morons.

    October 13, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. KC

    LOL – Rand Paul complaining about the President using fear to motivate people to do their job. First FEAR is all the GOP used to get their way the 15 years. Secondly, he thinks it is fear when most informed people know it is Fact what is going to happen. Paul is a joke and someone should take away his microphone before he hurts himself. All you want to know about Rand and his TeaBaggers was caught on tape with his little love fest with Mitch Mc. They are holding the world hostage so they can get what they want.

    October 13, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. Progressive from Georgia

    Senator Rand Paul does not know anything about international macro economics. The Chief Manager of the International Monetary Fund, who was interviewed on "Meet the Press," was asked about Rand Pauls's statement that it would not seriously harm the the U.S. and world economy if the U.S. defaulted on its debts and obligations. In reply, the manager stated that creative accounting will not fool the world economy and there will be very serious consequences if the U.S. defaults on his debt obligations. Who would you believe – Rand Paul – who is not an economist but a libertarian politican or the Chief Manager of the International Monetary Fund? I think we all know the answer to this one.

    October 13, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. onlymho

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

    the final quote in the article says it all and says it plainly

    October 13, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Wheel – are you referring to the 2012 add about Ryan defunding social security and Medicare? Republicans have made it a reality.

    October 13, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Mark

    When is he he lying? When his lips are moving. The original deal that the democrats made kept the sequester in effect. The republicans walked away from this because they wanted to defund the affordable care act. How soon they forget. They not only want to rewrite history, they even want to change the story of what actually happened in the last few weeks.

    October 13, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Nan

    Scare? Every time a Republican opens his/her mouth they are scaring people. They are superior in scare tactics.

    October 13, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. David Busi

    What a pile of self serving nonsense. They scream about balancing the budget – and there are two ways to get there – the first and most obvious is tax increases because US tax rates are FAR to low to sustain required government operations. The other way is spending decreases and government needs to do more not less these days for America and it needs the tools to do the job. I don't see Republican's saying lets end tax loopholes, lets look at reasonable tax increases – all they say is kill spending on the poor so the wealthiest Americans don't have to pay their fair share – meaning levels that other industrialized nations wealthy pay. Welfare for the wealthy is accomplished by artificially low tax rates and it is time to stop it. America spends 40% more than it takes in in tex revenue – there are two ways to fix it – taxes and spending cuts. Included in spending cuts are tax loop holes because al the write offs that the wealthy get are not fair to working Americans. Using corporate jets for private vacations is not something that a working American gets to do – ever.

    October 13, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Neo Agnostic

    Rand Paul is doing the exact same thing he is accusing Obama of doing.

    October 13, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. tired

    rand paul has the charisma of a glass of tap water. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    October 13, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. Mike Trottier

    I wouldn't vote for Rand Paul,...not for anything!
    I WILL NOT VOTE FOR A TEABAGGER
    I Will Not Vote For A republican Again For A Very Long Time
    I Truly Believe President Obama is trying to help ALL AMERICANS,.....republicans hate OUR PRESIDENT.
    Republicans are on ;the wrong side of HISTORY,.....They will pay dearly for that.
    Republicans won't even have a chance at the White House until 2024, if they don't get rid of the cancer that's growing in the teabaggers side of their party.

    October 13, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. A_T

    @Sparrow1 Yep, blame Bush....typical ignorant response. However you go so far as to blame BOTH Bush POTUS, forgetting that slick Willy was in between them.....try justifying that.....I would ask you to think about it, but you have already proven an inability to do so.

    October 13, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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