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. northerstar

    It is beyond ridiculous that anyone considers this non-achiever as a "2016 Candidate for president". What has he done that would cause anyone to believe he could be president. He was elected locally by Tea Party Wing Nuts and the more he speaks, the crazier he sound. He has no national chance of becoming president.

    October 13, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. AmericaFirst

    Yes, Rand, we realize you have a degree in medicine, not economics. Of course, real people like you know defaulting on the nation's debt means nothing at all. Why Wall Street is about to stop contributing to tea slag whackos, perhaps they don't understand the debt situation is meaningless too.

    October 13, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Farrok

    You had better be frightened of the GOP as they are as close to the Nazi Party as you can get and still be an American Citizen.............

    October 13, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. VEW2012

    Factually... it is Rand and Ron Paul and their fascist policies that scare Americans.

    October 13, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. nintex

    It makes me sick that this country is held hostage by a bunch of ignorant idiots who don't have any idea what they're talking about (Rand and Cruz come to mind), but as long as they're against abortion and thump on their BIbles, other idiots will vote for them. We need to elect intelligent people who see the big picture and know that leaders have to work together for the good of all the people, not just those who have a sixth grade education and never got out of Podunk County (pick a state).

    October 13, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Jack

    Mr. Paul after the open mic comment, I'd shut my mouth!

    October 13, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. J R Brown

    I see tons of ad hominem attacks about Senator Paul regarding Christians, racism and a bunch of other "issues" unrelated to the content of what he is saying regarding the debt ceiling....what that tells me is that these people don't have anything to contradict what he's saying so they try to smear him instead. It makes me think he's probably right...since people aren't disproving what he said but trying to discredit him instead.

    You idiots do understand that ad hominem attacks don't actually help your cause except with other like-minded idiots, don't you???

    October 13, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. David

    I have no need to be scared by Obama. Intelligent people already know the economic stakes we are playing with. And listening to Rand Paul and the Republicans is like playing Russian Roulette with all chambers fully loaded, but acting like the gun is empty.

    October 13, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. edpeters101

    Note to Rand Paul: That is not correct! Obama is not trying to scare people, he is warning people about legislators like you who are hazardous to our fiscal health!

    October 13, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. JP

    Maybe if congress and senate salaries are shut down they will find a compromise.

    October 13, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    These guys need to go!

    October 13, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Paul f

    The only thing to fear is Rand Paul himself.

    October 13, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. NotAdIXIECRAT

    Isn't this the same Rand Paul who tried to make it out that Democrats were against Equal Rights? but they were Conservative Democrats (and Republican's from the South). A fact he left out. Liberals have always been for equal rights.

    October 13, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. Don in albuquerque

    Did not realize the GOTP had already started the race to see who is the most unelectable person in America.

    October 13, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Not-DixieCrat

    Let's vote for a clean bill, shall we? Why not?

    October 13, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Arthur

    REPUBLICANS have played right into Obama's hands. It's either take whatever they are given next week or be blamed for a "default". If they hadn't been so greedy a month ago, they could've gotten more of what they wanted. How many times are they going to lose this game before they stop playing?

    October 13, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. Not-DixieCrat

    Rand Paul is part of the problem. Both parties are at fault for not working with the other. However... The Tea Party dregs are damaging our country.

    October 13, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Steve Ramsey

    So the Senator from Kentucky has more insight into the ramifications of a U.S. credit default then leading economists, the Federal Reserve Board, the International Monetary Fund, and the Secretary of the Treasury?
    If he honestly believes this he is dangerous. Extremism lends itself to very easy, black or white answers, and this man is an extremist.
    I hope for the sake of the American people that when the Iowa caucuses come around again, and Senator Paul is trying to get the Republican nomination for president, that the press reminds us all of this crackpot viewpoint.

    October 13, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. Simon

    Rand Paul is disingenuous. There is a lot more coming due than the interest on the existing debt. Social Security checks being one of the things that will be affected within a couple of weeks. He's an extortionist.

    October 13, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  20. Maria

    Republicans scare me

    October 13, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. Susan

    In the early 60s, my parents bought a three bedroom house in Richmond, Va. for about $30,000. Today, that same house sells for over $450,000. The house hasn't changed one bit (just got older), but the value of the dollar has declined dramatically. That's why it takes so many more dollars to buy the same house. Congress, wake up.

    October 13, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. American Worker

    President 'Coercion' Obama

    October 13, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. Scott

    If a business leader tried to dispense medical advice Rand and the baggers would be in full fledged indignation about how they're not doctors. When leading business leaders and all economists agree that not raising the debt ceiling would call undue economic chaos Rand and the baggers as usual show their ignorance and gross denial of reality. Figures.

    October 13, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Dan

    ah gee, are the Republicans getting a bit of their own medicine.

    October 13, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. jdinblankets

    Rand Paul scares me because he is ignorance posing as intellect.

    October 13, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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