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. Dandy Dizmore

    Wow, talk about clueless! or as the other person mentioned simply disingenuous... The GOP is hamstrung by the TeaPublicans.. They need to separate from the radical right and GROW A PAIR! Apparently they are perfectly happy to take the economy over the cliff along with their idealogy..

    October 13, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. joe

    i have news for sen. paul and all of his crazy tea party followers....its just not president obama saying our country would be in deep trouble if we default on our debt. almost the entire sane world is warning is sounding the alarm bell. my question to our crazy tea party friends including those in congress. are you going to repay the american people their money when our 401 retirement money goes out the window if we default?

    October 13, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. Dandy Dizmore

    We need to get the TeaPublicans out of office next go-round.. they are a threat to the country..

    October 13, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Dilip Samuels

    The TEA PARTY RANDHOLE ( AKA TURKEY QUESTION SENATOR ...CALLING HILARY CLINTON INCOMPETENT) has no concept...Business leaders, economists detail the damage...this TURKEY .......SAYS Obama is scaring peope

    What a TURKEY...WHAT A RANDHOLE!!!!! FRIEND OF cruzhole

    October 13, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. ED1

    It's incredible that 42% of Americans think that this unqualified, incompetent, dishonorable, ego-driven fraud is doing a good job. Take a moment. Admit it to yourself. You know who his supporters are. They are the people that YOU support - financially.

    Did you notice who Obama threatened when he wasn't getting his way on raising the debt ceiling? He threatened to not pay:

    – Social Security Retirees

    – Military Retirees

    – Social Security Disability, and Federal Retirees.

    – Now let this sink in really well...

    – He did not threaten to stop payments to illegal aliens.

    – He did not threatened to take frivolous benefits such as Internet access away from violent inmates.

    – He did not offer to fire some of the thousands of unnecessary federal employees that he hired.

    – He did not offer to cut down on his or his wife's frivolous gallivanting around. $20 Million already spent on family vacations. (One Million on a FL golf outing). All our money...why not?

    – He did not threaten to not pay the senators and representatives or any of their staff.

    – He did not threaten to take benefits away from welfare recipients or to stop the free cell phones they get.

    – He did not threaten the food stamp programs.

    – He did not threaten to reduce payments in foreign aid.

    – He did not threaten to cut back on anything that involves his base voters.

    – The list could go on and on. He is in full political mode!

    Why are we allowing this person to destroy this wonderful country with his selfishness and his lies? Have WE lost our blooming minds!!!!!!!!

    His type of change is killing our country. He needs to be stopped.

    Do not forget about his tactics when it's election time 2014.

    Get out and Vote in the mid-term election – 2014. Support the people in the House and Senate that are willing to cut taxes and spending.

    LET'S MAKE 2014 – THE Beginning of a turn around. Forget change we want our $$$$$$$$$ back and we want to take our country back!

    October 13, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Honestly

    The GOP has bought into the idea if they lie enough that the people will start believing them. Sorry GOP, you created this problem, you refused to defuse it, and now you're trying to deflect blame to Obama.

    Will be so good to see the TP traitors get flushed down the toilet.

    October 13, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. NoMoreRetoric

    Rand Paul and the Tea Party Terrorists are destroying this Nation. They are attacking our Democracy. We have been focused on external terrorist threats but have forgotten that we also have those whom will distroy our Nation from with'in if given a chance.

    Democrats and Republicans must unit and throw out theh Tea Party.

    The Tea Party knows that as long as we stay divided, they have a chance in remaking America into the Fascist state they desire.

    October 13, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. AmericaFirst

    At least we learned what Republicans believe is a cure for recession – ANOTHER RECESSION. Thanks Tea Slags.

    October 13, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. AmericaFirst

    I'm sure with Rand Paul's medical degree he perfectly understands economics. Wall Street will soon teach the tea slags what campaign contributions mean regarding bringing on a RECESSION

    October 13, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Dan5404

    Rand Paul is a simplistic extremist, pretending to be an economist. He is not and never was. Economists all over the world, including those in China, have warned of dire consequences in the US and world economies if these idiots with 21% approval continue to hold their own party and the American economic health by using ultra right wing political threats against their own party. They are so deceitful and filled with lies, the very Tea Party people that caused the shutdown are demonstrating at the monuments in Washington, pretending they didn't shut them down in the first place. That's probably to cover up the fact that veteran's benefits and wounded warrior funds will be affected by their actions. This bunch of wackos are the most dangerous group in America, causing more damage to the American people than terrorists.

    October 13, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. Missouri Mike

    I tell you Dr Paul, I believe next month I will call the mortgage company, my credit card companies, my student loan carrier and tell them I am having a tough time. I just want to pay the interest only on everything I owe. Under your comprehension of the times, I am still going to have great credit because after all I am paying the interest. I know, as everyone else knows. NONE of these companies would except this and I would end up with terrible credit. What a bunch of bafoones we have as elected officials. It is people like this that has encouraged us to take all our money out of our 401Ks'. God help us all. We are going over this cliff and our lives will forever-more be changed. The world has wanted to change the dollar as base currency, and these jack legs are going to give them the opportunity.

    October 13, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Fair is fair

    I stand with rand!

    October 13, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. VEW2012

    Rand Paul and his cohorts like Ted Cruz are the problem. They are a minority and people in their districts need to acquire the good sense to vote them out of office. They are nothing short of being Fascist...they do not represent the middle-class. They have been purchased by big money focused on the wealthy few. The only problem is they have so gerrymandered some states that is hard to undo. We need redistricting by impartial groups, and we definitely need to get lobbyist and money out of elections.

    October 13, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. cacique22

    I believe in everything Ron Paul says,
    I believe in everything Ron Paul says,
    I believe in everything Ron Paul says,
    I believe in everything Ron Paul says,
    I believe in everything Ron Paul says,
    I believe in everything Ron Paul says,
    I believe in everything Ron Paul says,
    I believe in everything Ron Paul says,
    I believe in everything Ron Paul says,
    I believe in everything Ron Paul says
    ...

    October 13, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. John

    Reading the comments, I am mostly disturbed by those who repeat their parties line, without thinking about the possibility that their party is also at fault. The biggest threat to America, is our divided nation. Each group blindly following their party, overlooking the wolves within. If we are not united, our country will fall.

    October 13, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. Tom

    @northerstar: "non-achiever"? "What credentials does he have to be president"? Surely, you didn't vote for Obama considering that's exactly how he could be described.

    October 13, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. malcat

    The Republicans have GIVEN up defunding the ACA; they have AGREED to raise the debt ceiling in part even though they don't want to raise it at all; they have AGREED to fund the government past 10/17 even though they first said no to all funding. That's THREE things the Republicans have compromised on.

    Challenge: list three things about which the Democrats are willing to compromise.

    October 13, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Winston Smith

    There's something in the water where this turd was raised. And, apparently he drank a big tall glass full every day. It's a damn shame the people, (the real people of our country), have to be subjected to this kind of mindset, through any form of media. It's shameful at best, and downright uncalled for.

    October 13, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  19. 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 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. Independent_Joe

    Let the Republicans take us over the cliff and default based on their starting argument about defunding Obama Care and their current argument about deficits, spending and the budget. Using a government shutdown that harms many Americans and a debt ceiling threat to extract concessions is the brightest move that they have. They are now running around like the Keystone Cops and a dog that caught the car it was chasing. They didn't realize that the President would put some boundaries and limits on them. They tested this President and they lost. Good luck in the Midterms boys. Instead of Romney & Murdock, you now have Cruz and the gerrymandered House Republican right. yeee haaa!

    October 13, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. majorbatguano

    Hmmmm ... nothing in comparison to an earlier President who made it his job to scare people daily in this country with his color-coded terror alerts

    October 13, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. Skarphace

    Jon: "We will not default because we can easily make interest payments on our debt."

    Ok, try this: call up your credit card company or mortgage bank or lendor and tell them that you wish to only pay the interest on your debt from now on. Let me know what they say. Most likely, they will tell you to declare bankruptcy, because that is what such action amounts to.

    Your debt includes all your financial obligations, including the principle on your loans and anything you already agreed to pay, such as a lease. The government cannot pay all of its legal obligations with its current revenue level. If it could, we would have a balanced budget.

    October 13, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Doobie doer

    The thing you have to say about Obama is that he isn't a seperatisit. He tries to take all sides into consideration if they are not extremist, "me first" approaches to fiscal plann

    October 13, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. Nodack

    Obama needs to scare people about us not paying our bills.

    America does not negotiate with terrorists.

    October 13, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. Dan

    Indeed we are scared.We have seen the enormous damage that has been inflicted upon the country by the tea party.

    October 13, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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