October 13th, 2013
10:14 AM ET
1 year 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. Anonymous

    I'm certainly no financial or economic expert, but Rand Paul is obviously not one either.
    So, I will take the word of the head of the IMF Christine Lagarde, or Leon Panetta, or any other true
    economist that has warned us over and over again, the damage a default would do to America's
    economy and the World.

    October 13, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Luke

    Its about time Paul stands up and shuts up the Obama smear campaign.

    October 13, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. darth cheney

    Yeah, the Republicans are saying a legitimate effort to provide health insurance to the poor is akin to the Apocalypse, and it's OBAMA who's trying to scare people. Yeah, right.

    October 13, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. bill.x

    Rand Paul is getting back to his twinki little self again, complaining that that big mean boy Obama is hurting his feelings. Next he'll be threatening the president that he'll beat him with his purse. Man up Mr. Paul, lay out or spew your agenda and let us decide what we want.

    October 13, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. Chedar

    The president can just invoke the 14th amendment Paul and all your heads will roll.

    October 13, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. Quixote

    rand paul is a dangerous idiot. Please stop reporting his lunatic ramblings as if they are somehow valid and important.

    October 13, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Larry282

    This dimwit is the scary one. All these "libertarians/tea party idgits" are for is themselves, not the people they represent, not The People of the USA, just themselves! Don't get me wrong. The Democrats and Republicans are just as bad. That's the problem. We have everyone out for themselves instead of US!

    October 13, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Decline-ofUSA

    Obama is a terrorist POS of course he trying to scare everyone. that is what terrorist do.

    October 13, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  9. Mikey

    Its time we started Impeachment procedings on these Clowns who are playing with American Lives! These guys have no idea what its like living week to week and wondering if your going to make it. Throw all the bums out!!!

    October 13, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Deanna from PA

    Well now idiot, if you would pay attention....it wasn't the president telling everyone this information....it was the Republicans. This shows how really stupid and moronic you are. It doesnt' matter tho....because the Republicans have mucked up so bad at this point their numbers are dwindling. You all will do yourselves in before it's all over. If you idiots would sit down and negotiate instead of pitching tantrums, we would all be better off. Jump in the lake sir!!

    October 13, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Firstname Lastname

    Fire yourself, impeach Obama. None of you speak for us.

    October 13, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. zappo15

    Its time to send the arrogant Paul and Cruz packing. They should not be over concerned they are never going to be elected president. Too extreme. This is a country of moderation. That is why it is a world example of democracy. Apparently going into default is the only way that the majority can attain control. Protection of the minority is important in a democracy but rule by the minority is unacceptable and only leads to dictatorship. Let the default come if that is what the extremists insist on..

    October 13, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Old West

    Confirmation why republicans have no presidential future...Rand, Cruz, Walker, Christie, Rubio......

    October 13, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. scott

    sen paul, if the president is scaring us, right...are u willing to put your money where your mouth is???? i will bet my 401K plan against your government taxpayer funded lifetime pension....if the stock market takes a dive, i win if nothing happens u win...

    October 13, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. NYOMD

    The Koch brothers open their wallet and Rand Paul opens his mouth.

    October 13, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. Anonymous

    More dangerous rhetoric from the far right

    October 13, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. Randy Left Brooklyn

    One thing that comes across loud and clear from Rand Paul and the other pro-shutdown politicians is they do not understand economics at all. The reason why we have not seen little impact on our debt so far is because the financial community believes this is all political posturing and will end before there are any repercussions. If we lose that confidence it will cost us way more than any budget cuts the tea party could hope to achieve.

    For example, with $14 billion dollars of debt, a 1% rise in interest rates costs us $140 billion dollars every year. If people start thinking the US political system is so dysfunctional it can't be trusted, we could easily experience that kind of cost. That doesn't include the billions of paper currency held outside our country which functions as an interest free loan. It also doesn't count the devastation to the world economy if there was any real feeling we might default.

    Once the world loses confidence in our system it takes a long time to build it back. The last debt ceiling brinksmanship cost the U.S. its triple AAA rating from Standard & Poor.

    I don't expect congressman to be economists, but I do expect them to get expert advice when the situation calls for it. The current bunch appears to be relying on experts who are as ignorant and biased as they are. A recent article had economists calling the GOP "economic illiterates" and that truly fits comments like Senator Paul's. He thinks if we just pay the interest everything will be OK. What an oaf.

    October 13, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. jharry

    Oh I'm scared everyday I wake up an realize BO the clown is in charge.

    October 13, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. Mike S

    Obama is the president of fear. Remember how Obama tried to scare everyone about the sequester? He sent a crafted messages from the White House to the head of different departments in goverment for them to read as if it was their own words. From the Pentagon to the Justice Department they went on talking about the dire effects of the sequester. You could see on Panetta's and Holder's face as they read their statements how uncomfortable they felt about it because deep inside they were being disingenuous.

    October 13, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  20. John Vance

    Oh good grief, would you guys just go to work and do what you were hired to do.

    October 13, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. Peter

    There really needs to be an IQ test before we elect theses KNOW NOTHING IDIOTS! What annoys me most is they come on TV spill their misinformation! Please read a damn book! And by the way the earth is round!

    October 13, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  22. John

    Government takes in about 280 billion a month, Interest payments are around 20 billion a month. We can easily not raise the debt ceiling and still pay our bills. The increase is only to spend more money like every good liberal and DEM thinks is their right...spend other people money on the social program they need to enslave millions through dependency. It's what they do best and gives them the power over everyone they give hand-outs too

    October 13, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. Jim8

    If only these guys had the same opinion 10 years ago.

    In 2000, it was projected the National Debt would be retired in 2013. Then, well, use your memory.

    October 13, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. undecided

    I hope you all know that the Paul's are heavily invested in Gold, right?

    October 13, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. copperhead

    As a liberal Democrat, I expect Republicans to be screwed up, but when it is my own damned party screwing up and causing the klustrfck in Washington, as they are currently doing, I have to think that the Democrats in Washington have lost their minds, Reality is obscure to them, and EVERYONE, regardless of which party they are affiliated with have every right to expect accountability from those in government. It is absurd at least, terroristic at best, for a US President to call anyone who disagrees with him a traitor or a terrorist, using the IRS as his personal henchmen. I guess Mr. Obama doesn't realize that there are sound and video clips of him lying about just about everything under his administration. Son, he will be blaming his own POS, career defining legislation, Obamacare, on GW Bush.

    October 13, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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