October 13th, 2013
10:14 AM ET
10 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. Justin Cider

    Rand Paul's macroeconomic knowledge is equivalent to a stick...

    October 13, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. the hippies were right

    Hmm, So now the country has enough money to pay it's debt, but at the same time Obama is destroying the country. "The president should soothe the markets", that the GOP led house is threating to crash, who is the worst evil? Does logic even exist in the brains of the GOP? Or the sheep that agree with them? This is all so weird!!!!!!

    October 13, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  3. jinx9to88

    “We're seeing that the Senate Democrats are getting greedy about this whole thing,” Paul said. LMAO!!!!! Who came to the table with grocery list of demands to have the government reopened? GOP are hypocrites!!!!!

    October 13, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. mgrossy

    Unfortunately the media, once again, not tells the truth.
    This action of the Republican Party is pushing our country into economic abyss which will not ever be able to recover.
    European States are tired of relying on the U.S. economy, are fearful that causes another U.S. economic recession in Europe, so they are thinking of taking the dollar as the base currency and start using the Euro or the Yen.
    This would cause the total destruction of our economy.

    October 13, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. gwill55

    How in the heck do people like Paul get elected? Pretty well every economist and business leader has warned of the dangers of defaulting. Are ALL of those people trying to scare people too!!! The bad thing about politics if a guy is religious and against abortion he can get elected by the GOP no matter how extreme his other views are. Paul is really a few frys short of a happy meal.

    October 13, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Solomon Walker

    Trust me when I say that there is nothing worthwhile to see here but text.

    Impeach all in Washington DC.

    October 13, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Steve

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

    Sounds to me like Rand here doesnt understand that we already have obligations to pay for that we have already used. Thats like saying, "I think maybe I will just pay the interest on my mortgage this month, I am sure my bank wont mind that at all...or my car payment can wait for a couple of months while I get my budget figured out."

    October 13, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. grafixer

    The Tea/GOP has become laughable. Accusing Obama of using "fear tactics"? OMG. Fear is all the Tea/GOP has used – to get into office, and now to try to get rid of what is law – ACA. The Tea/GOP is self-destructing, and they are very, very afraid. They should be. We are witnessing the end of the Tea/GOP party.

    October 13, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Al Finkelstein

    It"s not rocket science. Failing to increase the debt ceiling means default. Just because we can pay the interest on the debt doesn't mean we haven't defaulted. Social security, Medicare and VA benefits are all debts and the credit markets will interpret any delay in their payment as default. Get it together now!

    October 13, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. JDinHouston

    Tea Party Republicans are doing just fine scaring the heck out of the rest of us with their reckless disregard for the realities of a default. Rand Paul is just a poster child of these disconnected extremists living in their bubble of denial.

    October 13, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. UncleM

    More evidence that the tea party is unfit to have any place in government.

    October 13, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. scott in ga

    I don't see a real argument in Mr. Paul's words. He's seems in favor of the House passing a CR. The Democrats should agree not to raise the debt limit.
    What I do see however, is a compete deflection of what the media has been reporting as the root cause of the stalemate..the House majority, drew a line in the sand and made unreasonable demands. That's what happened.

    October 13, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. Dave

    The Repuglican's obstructionism is why the American people are scared,. It has nothing to do with Obama...the Repuglicans do that job quite well on their own!!

    October 13, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. theplu

    Do these people think that the debt will just go away if you don't pay it? Debt is owing money that you've already spent Rand. Lets' balance the budget – you do that while you're voting on policies... Not after you've already spent the money. How on earth do these people get voted into office?! They're always comparing the country's budget to a household so ok, if you buy a house with 20% down and then spend 30 years only paying the interest, will you be spending more money or less money than you would if you put that money towards principal? Yeah... The "fiscal conservatives"... Right...

    October 13, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. oscar

    Really Rand Paul? Republicans (including you) have been screaming about how scary the debt is, and how it's going to lead to imminent inflation and high interest rates any day now – for the last 5 YEARS. They use words like "evil" and "immoral" about a public debt that is perfectly under control in order to scare Americans into slashing the social safety net.

    But sure, Obama's statement that defaulting on our debts would hurt our economy (and it would) is a "scare tactic". Unbelievably hypocritical.

    October 13, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. Denning

    Does not raising the debt ceiling mean that the govt can no longer spend money it doesn't have?

    October 13, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. James P. Barber

    Paul should be talking to Mr. Kim of the world bank. He hasn't received the message that default is no big deal. Paul and Cruz are what's scaring the American people. This is more whine and blame Obama for not caving into their tantrum. Their slash and burn methods include our veterans that have actually made their sacrifice so these career politicians can use them as pawns in their war against the president. The Koch tea party is shameless in their efforts to destroy the president.

    October 13, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Just saying...

    Ok, now I'm convinced this disingenuous narcissist wants to wreck havoc in our government. Either that or he is completely clueless about how the economy works. The sequester is one of the worst law ever emanated in this country. Designed to hurt everybody. The debt ceiling is the time that the US will not be able to cover its debts. Lew has already prioritized as much as possible and the revenues and bills don't flow regularly enough to allow for a balance without some borrowing room. Anybody that has ever worked on a budget knows that!!!

    October 13, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. Bill C

    Rand Paul is very naive about balancing the budget, clearly not as simple as he would have you believe.

    October 13, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. Tony

    Republicans want to reassure us that if they shoot the hostage, the hostage won't die.

    October 13, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. woodie

    It sounds to me Rand Paul is part of the problem and not the cure.

    October 13, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. Jimbob

    I would consider it the right thing to do if Obama is trying to scare Americans. Governments all over the world are imploring the US not to default. The only ones not getting it are the Republicans.

    October 13, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. John Cram

    You always know the Republican game plan, they always try the oldest focus change in the book – accuse the other side of exactly what YOU are up to.

    October 13, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. Bill Davis

    These Republican idiots have been proclaiming Obama the scary bogey man since his election. Fortunately, most Americans are learning g who the scary people really are. The GOP they hate Americans...

    October 13, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. woodie

    It sounds to me like Rand Paul is part of the problem and not the cure. He is trying to deflect responsibility.

    October 13, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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