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. ItSoNlYmE

    Well Rand, to quote your own spineless "leader" – THIS ISN'T SOME DAMN GAME! Yes, the President is trying to scare people – and that's because your allowing this country to default on its obligations is a scary thing. If you had a scintilla of responsibility to your duty, you'd be scared too. A default could very well send markets crashing around the world. You should be very scared. Please don't presume to inflict this on the rest of us. Remember in November.

    October 13, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. winchester74

    Rand Paul is another water boy for the Kroch Brothers. The longer this debacle goes on, the more obvious it becomes that these Tea Partiers are nothing more than ideological puppets the payroll of sick billionaires trying to replace our democracy with some sort of fascist taliban. Under the taxpayer funded House health plan, Rand Paul can seek mental help for his problem – but first he has to admit to himself that he has a problem.

    October 13, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. SteveInMN

    Ran-daaaayyyy!!!

    You are just plain 100% unadulterated WRONG according to every credible economist and world economic minister. I just pray we never get that proof.

    PS: Niiiiiice Perm!!!

    October 13, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. bob

    If the debt ceiling only means you need to balance the budget. I would think you would want to get credit for the knowledge of how. So jump in there and show Obama how it is done. Let;s see first you tax the wealthy, oh that's right Norquist the Republican god will not allow that. Well unseat the false god and put yourself in and declare that the rich can be taxed. But first you have got to remove that scattered brain so you can talk about the subject and not talk in tangent to it.

    October 13, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Merlin

    Well, I'd say an obstructive Congress, which failed to address this issue this past summer before any deadline, has already done a good job of that. What is the real issue here? Disagreements over a budget and affordable healthcare or the fact we have a totally dysfunctional Congress, unable to make important decisions before a crisis situation develops? My opinion is the latter of the two. And my solution? VOTE THEM ALL OUT AND VOTE IN REAL PUBLIC SERVANTS; NOT SELF-SERVANTS!

    October 13, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. DisabledVeteranin Texas

    Sen Paul seems like another that would rather us disabled Veterans would just wither up and d ie. He dislikes seeing disability payments to those who gave up so much for this contry. The President, The Senate and the House are all playing games at the expense of citizens lives. They think its funny, well it is not

    October 13, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Paul Deemer

    Rand Paul you have to be in the Group of one of the most IGNORANT and DUMBEST CONGRESSMEN ever! (Only TED CRUZ is above you) Even Republican Donors are telling the Republican Party to back off this Debt Ceiling threat. But you won't listen, you think this is not gonna be a crisis and something that will go away in a few months and everyone will forget about it?

    You are insane!! This will haunt us for a long long time. The consequences will be severe. Regardless what you think Rand the Experts say otherwise, so do world Leaders and so does wall street.

    Well if you do Default watch what happens to you. You will be so hated by the people that nobody in the Tea Party will be considered seriously in the 2016 as a White House contender. I seriously don't want to see this country hurt but if it has to happen I hope it is extreme enough for Republican Party to lose it's Majority.

    October 13, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. mike

    People are terrified of republican fanatics like ron paul.

    October 13, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. MeanOldMan

    If there is one thing the republicans have proven lately it's that they have totally removed reality from their version of the world.

    October 13, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. SteveInMN

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

    Is it possible this clown really believes this, and if fact really does HAVE NO IDEA how this all works?!?!?!?!

    The money is ALREADY SPENT, Ran-daaaaayyy! We raise the debt limit simply to borrow the money to pay the incurred debt.

    Lord help us.

    October 13, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. rl

    Paul scares the heck out of me. Unless he and his kind are waiting for the republicons in white hats to come ridding in and save them from themselves. If he is serious he would just as soon destroy the United States of America in order to get his way. What really is his way? I believe it is to make the White House white again and keep those people from ever daring to run for President again, and that only Southeners should be in that position. First of all they lost in the 1860s and they lost the last elections in 2012. They are the minority right now, and maybe if they don't destroy the country and themselves they may someday again be the majority, but until that they are not.

    October 13, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Bill Hannegan

    Great thinking from the Republicans. Pay interest to the Chinese while Americans go without their social security checks. Awesome set of priorities there, teabaggers...

    October 13, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. srcactus

    Agree or not Paul is making sense. Now get back to the table and work this thing out.

    October 13, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. observer1776

    We have a ratio of national debt to GDP of over 73 percent.
    Not good, but not as bad as some EU Socialist-minded nations.
    China is right behind us, at half of our GDP, but is growing aggressively.
    Our GDP growth is rather anemic.
    We have a generation ready to move into Social Security with a system which is burdened with IOU's.
    Healthcare, while efficient, is tremendously expensive. ObamaCare presents economic problems.
    The financial sector is now up to over 8% of GDP.
    The income gap between the top 1% and the remaining 99 percent is now asymptotic.
    It appears that there is more wealth creation then monies being put to at-risk work.
    Is it possible to achieve an approach that employs a mix of Capitalism, Socialism and Faith values?
    I'm beginning to doubt that.

    October 13, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. geekgirl42

    “We're seeing that the Senate Democrats are getting greedy about this whole thing,” If the Republicans held the majority in the Senate and the Presidency, do you think they would be willingly givng up all that political advantage in return for nothing? Yet this is what Rand Paul seems to expect from Senate Democrats. "I know your party won the majority, but we still think you should do what we want." On what planet does that make sense?

    October 13, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Pat in IL

    Paul is much better at trash talk than he is at economics.

    October 13, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Matt

    I can't take one word that this guy utters from his mouth seriously. He, Cruz and several others are the reason the GOP is imploding. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    October 13, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Dallas

    What a megalomaniac! How could our great nation raise the likes of Paul, Cruz, Rubio, Palin, Bachman, etc? These people are dangerous to our democracy and we all need to wake up to that fact!

    October 13, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. David

    Congress is responsible for creating the budget. The last time Congress came up with a budget was 2009.

    October 13, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. works4me

    Scare people? If by speaking facts of the undeniable future, I would have to say he's more like educating people. That's what scares the hell out of the Republicans. They don't like educated and informed voters.

    October 13, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Aaa comment.

    Has anyone seen the fantastic video of Michele and Barack signing the Obama family up for Obamacare??

    October 13, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. Nothienufyet

    We all know we have to tighten our belts but what about the restyt of the world where everything outside our borders is sucking on the American teat as well?

    October 13, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  23. Anonymous

    We need to start Impeachment in each State on these idiots, so we as Americans can get on with our lifes!!!

    October 13, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  24. scott in ga

    So Mr. Ryan would rather use this opportunity to attack his president and try to score political points, instead of criticizing the Congress for not finding a solution. Those are exactly the same sort of leadership skills that you incessantly chide the White House for..Please find a solution and quit the rhetoric. Just because you think the President is throwing stones, doesn't mean you have to throw stones too. Especially when the country is on dangerous ground because of your own partisan brinkmanship.

    October 13, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. Gene

    Why do respectable news agencies even report on such blatantly ignorant attempts to spin issues as is coming out of Rand Paul's mouth? Why don't they all out these statements as what they are, DAMAGING to our country. No, CNN and other news outlets would prefer to think that there is some kind of objectivism to their reporting that "both sides" are "equally" to blame. So any stupid statement made by a politician gets on the airwaves. Both the media and these politicians are to blame, but there is no equivalency otherwise. This is the republicans doing. As long as the media continues to the meme that it is both sides fault and that these loons should have airtime to spew more country damaging stupidity is not helping our country move forward. Stop it. If Rand Paul said that alien chickens were in his underpants, I would expect a journalist to present that in the light that it should be presented in. What the right is doing to our government and our economy is equally as stupid. The American public is not being helped by this charade of equivalency. Stupid and factually wrong is stupid and factually wrong. It doesn't make one biased to draw such a friggin' distinction.

    October 13, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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