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. 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 |
  2. Thomas

    I used to a little respect for Ron Paul , very little .

    One must question his parenting skills , his son Rand is a con man.

    Did anybody listen to his speech to the Value Voters on the war against Christians , talk about a promoter of fear.

    October 13, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. ImvotingforHillary

    And when we default and our economy crashes what will this liar say then. He needs to stick to taking pictures with his neo-nazi brothers and helping his dad edit his racist newsletters.

    October 13, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. onlymho

    @ Teacher the rising interest rate to more normal levels is exactly the reason to limit spending and limit the debt now – because if not stopped now the interest on the debt will become the largest part of our budget not leaving anything to help the rest of government needs and responsibilities

    October 13, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Will S

    Small, insignficant fish in a big pond.

    October 13, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. American

    I agree with Rand Paul and think he would make an excellent president.

    October 13, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Larry

    So speaks the Kentucky rich man. All we have to do is balance the budget on the backs of the poor and working class – give my friends a big tax cut, increase spending on the military so I have some protection when the poor decide they have had enough of his greed. Koch brothers want a tax cut Mr. Paul – bow to your masters.

    October 13, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Skarphace

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

    Well, what you are referring to is often called "shifting the goalposts," and the reason you are seeing this shift is because the Republicans started the budget negotiations with an extreme position that both sides knew was not tenable.

    If the Republicans had started these negotiations in good faith and only focussed on issues related to the deficit and the debt then we would not be in this position becuase the Democrats would have been forced to compromise. Instead, the Repubicans focussed on the repeal, defunding, or dismanteling of the the ACA and, inronically, forced themselves to compromise.

    Thus, the shifting goalposts. Reap what you sow, Teapublicans.

    October 13, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. domjactay

    Rand Paul is sharing his opinion, which I tend to agree with. The main stream news and CNN, MSNB all filter and share with the AMERICAN public what they want them hear pushing their agenda and HIDE FACTS that would turn the table on democratic party and their ideology. Candy asked simple questions in last debate to Obama and hard ball to Romney, that I expected. She took it too far when she imposed her false uninformed opinion backing Obama with the foolish lies about a youtube video causing the attack in Benghazi. He won on lies and misdirecting his failure onto others. It seems that unless you agree with the Dems, your options will be squashed, you will be prevented to express them by the IRS, and lies will be spread only to be proven they are lies once the election is over on page 53 of the news. SAD

    October 13, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. McSame

    Here is the typical republican mind: they are 100% for spending cuts, and 100% for their party leaders causing this shutdown. And yet, how much is the shutdown costing us per day? Republicans are so stupid they are happy to waste money on NOTHING, yet they cry and whine like 2 year olds when you try to spend it on something worthwhile. Republicans are so brain washed they actually think that crashing the economy will put them back to work. I guess all those unemployed republicans in red states have money to burn. (Red states have the highest welfare rates in the country).

    October 13, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. JB

    Everybody agrees there will be grave and dire consequences if the USA defaults on its debt. What Ryan is saying is there's no need to default. The IRS collects more than enough tax revenue each month to cover the nation's interest payments, and then some.

    October 13, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Maryann hunt

    I can't speak for anyone else, but I do feel that the president is actually trying to bully us people and see how far he get go with it. Just a precursor for his plans ahead. If he wins on this, just think what he can do to the people the next go round. A sure case of a " dictator telling the people how HE will have things, and not what the people want. I don't think the majority of people are for Obama care and there needs to be revisions made , or have it repealed entirely.

    I am just waiting and waiting to see if we will finally get Obama care appealed. As far as the debt ceiling, well, I just go to sleep at night knowing I did not cause the debt in this country. There needs to be a lot of programs cut, and the president definitely cannot take as many vacations as he would like....and use Air Force One. On the taxpayers money.

    I said it before and say it again, I am just waiting for him to be ousted, or to finish his term and get the hell out of our lives and our government.

    October 13, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Nat Zillendorpf

    Lot of trolls on these boards. Has everyone forgotten how close the last election was? There are half of us out here who vehemently disagree with our President's squandering our own and our grandchildren's legacy (they're now going to pay for his policies) and Obummercare. He did not get a mandate to unilaterally decide for all of us! Thank God we have some Republicans willing to stick up for the other half against this media bias. There are a lot more of us who will remember them in the midterm elections. Our President is only representing less than half the country now. He doesn't get to do so without negotiating with the majority.

    October 13, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. James Ruston

    That's because it is scary, Paul dear.

    October 13, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. Carl

    Obama thinks he is smarter than the average citizen out here. That is the hope of all liars.

    October 13, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Whatever

    President Obama isn't trying to scare anyone. It's the Republican Party who thinks they can use terrorist tactics to scare President Obama into giving them what they want. Apparently they haven't noticed how tough President Obama is when it comes to terrorist. Do they somehow believe political terrorism will be any different?

    The Republican Party reminds me of the crazy extremist in the Middle East. They want to force their ideology up American's buttocks. What they fail to understand is they've put a political gun to their heads and pulled the trigger because America has changed, it will never be the same again. This is a good thing.

    The ways of old white men defining how everyone else must live and will live are over. The Republican Party is a dinosaur who is unaware of its impending doom as the sun shines hotter down on them revealing just diseased they are as they slowly and painfully walking into extinction.

    October 13, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. jono

    @A_T
    I don't know what your trying to prove, but "Slick Willy" left the presidency with a profitable government that was giving the country a SURPLUS that the country hasn't seen since who knows when. Unlike Bush Sr. who didn't understand the economy, but I give him this, atleast he did a WAY better job than his unqualified son, Bush jr.

    October 13, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. Ace

    liar liar pants on fire...

    October 13, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Pete

    So the GOP is saying the Debt Ceiling doesn't matter? Remember when they used to say Deficits don't matter? These people are financially irresponsible! Pay your bills! Pay what you already spent!!!

    October 13, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. VJ

    Does he know the real debt happened during Bush administration, instead of pointing fingers against POTUS.

    October 13, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. sally

    Well, Rand Paul scares me...he is such right-wing ideologue who doesn't know what he is talking about. He would turn this economy into a laissez faire nightmare in a heartbeat.

    October 13, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. Terry

    Why not evade a shutdown. The problem of spending reduction can be fought through the next three months. The public will side with those who are willing to allow the sequester cuts to stand and add any other spending cuts that make sense. Any refusal to make such strides will make the republican party very susceptible to losses in the following year as a very large segment of the voting public will act to remove as many of the obstructionist as they can. Even many republicans are aware of the results of a default will have for the country. It's either take action or take the consequences that will follow. Personally, I like the latter.

    October 13, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Skarphace

    What we have seen, over the span of the last decade or so, was a radical shift to the extremes, on both sides. The Republicans shifted to the extreme right and the Democrats to the left. Those in the middle were labelled DINOS and RINOS and have lost their voice.

    Until recently. Now most Americans see the exremists for what they are and are experiencing the fracture in our government that comes from a polarized Congress. Hopefully these moderate voices will continue to rise and the American voter starts replacing these extremists on both sides with politicians that do not see the term "compromise" as a four letter word, and the term "negotiate" as a way to force the other side to do what you want.

    I have real hope that we will now see a fundamental shift to the center. If this happens, then America will once again start living up to its place in this world. If I am wrong, and the government continues to get more radical on both sides, then we are headed for a severe depression and possibly even an uprising of the people who are fed up with the 1% who have bought and paid for this current crop of extremists.

    October 13, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. rconatser1

    Paying the interest is not paying the debt. Even Paul should know that.

    October 13, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Jon

    We will not default because we can easily make interest payments on our debt. Chicken Little Obama should be held accountable for lying to us.

    October 13, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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