October 13th, 2013
10:14 AM ET
9 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. Paul

    LOL and shutting down the government because you cant have things your way isn't a scare tactic? Not only is the pot calling the kettle black. The pot has excrement for brains.

    October 13, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Dharmabum

    Please moderate republicans – take back your party from these dangerous idiots. We need a reasonable voice from your side even when I don't agree with it. I'm pretty sure if Randy, Mitchy, and Teddy were back in Boston a couple of centuries back they would be trembling as they peeked out of their lacy curtained windows, scared to death of the patriots and 100% loyal to the King. Also as a Kentuckian, I apologize to the rest of the country for Paul and for the majority of our state for electing him. I think if he would run again, he would be seriously whacked. Which is what he is. What kind of hell-damn accent does he whine. I can tell you it's unlike any Kentucky dialect that exists.

    October 13, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. Do your research

    You guys are silly. I don't always agree with Rand Paul but he's not your typical republican. If you knew anything about him you'd know he's more libertarian than republican. Do you research.

    He realizes the debt has to be paid, but if you read the article he doesn't think we need to increase the debt limit (which would allow us to take on more debt) to do so. It's crazy to think you can make your financial problems go away by continuing to spend money you don't have.

    October 13, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Crystal

    But who are people going to listen to, really smart economists or dumb politicians?

    October 13, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. Jill-IN

    Scary? You, Rand Paul are one Scary ... well you know.

    October 13, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. steve

    And why can't I respond to any of these ignorant
    liberal comments?

    October 13, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. sunnylovetts

    "Hey, let's stand around and talk about it some more!"

    "Great idea! Then we can talk about what we want to talk about next!"

    "I'm glad you agree. But first, we need to talk about what we've already talked about just to make sure we don't talk about it again."

    "Sounds good. And then we can talk about what we haven't talked about yet."

    "Of course, when we're done talking about what we are talking about, then we should talk about pretending not to talk about anything that we should be talking about."

    "Allright. But I disagree. And I don't want to talk about it."

    "Perfect! That's what I'm talking about."

    October 13, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. Richard Miller

    My Sunday comics didn't get here with my paper so, thank you CNN for the comedy piece. This guy needs to go back into the hills where he came from and pray to the snakes.

    October 13, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. bigdoglv

    Something has to change. We can not keep going down the same road. Are the tactics of the right helping, no but the tactics of the left are just as damaging. Our government must change its ways. We must begin to live within our means.

    October 13, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. JohnRJohnson

    Right. Obama is trying to scare people about the debt ceiling. Him and every reputable economist in the world. Rand Paul is an idiot.

    October 13, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. magicpanties

    People are rightfully scared of tea party fanatics like Paul and Cruz.

    October 13, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. KBNJ

    Rand Paul is the voice of reason in a sea of political hackery and ignorance. Listen closely and learn.
    If you doubt anything he says, just do some REAL research (i.e. NOT listening to politicians and people with an axe to grind on EITHER side). I suggest Khan Academy, and of course Wikipedia.

    October 13, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. No More Wars

    That's not fair to do that to all those vets and all their widows/widowers etc. – these people sincerely gave their patriotic best to this country and do not deserve to be made to suffer because a few people cannot negotiate and keep the country running and the benefits promised delivered on time. A country should NEVER treat it's military forces with disrepect and disregard – NEVER. that is NotBeingTotallyStupid 101 – all should know that.

    October 13, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Say no to the TP, John

    We have Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as possible presidential candidates in 2016. Wow. I guess we'll be having another Democrat. Do they seriously believe they speak for the entire US?

    October 13, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. Marinedad05

    Whats wrong with you Paul? A government default will more than likely result in worldwide economic recession. Almost every known economist, Wall Street investors, and even a number of Republicans predict.

    The only ones that want this is you, Cruz, unhinged talk show hosts ,and other kooks to the far Right. The sad part is spineless people GOP leadership in the House.

    You guys are hell-bent on taking the country AGAIN to the brink of economic chaos. Shame on you guys. You don't think about country, but just your own damn selves.

    We will remember you guys at the ballot. I have always voted without regard to party, but now I see the far Right is dragging the country in chaos every time they get a chance.

    October 13, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Mike

    I've never seen a non-idiot criticize Obama. They're all just dumb.

    October 13, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. bajadelmar

    He's from Kentucky??? He's talking out of the other side of his mouth considering by percentage his state is one of the biggest welfare recipients in the country.

    October 13, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. TiredofAllPoliticians

    The only ones who are 'scaring' anyone are those politicians who are trying to convince themselves that they are right. Its all rhetoric! Washington politicians were HIRED by the People, its time the People take action and FIRE them!

    October 13, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. Jeff

    People, Paul speaks the truth. The money is there to pay the bills, Obama just keep spending more than what he should.

    October 13, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. Sweeper

    People should be scared, A minority of the Republican party have no intention of any compromise and a spineless weeper of the house has no intention of making them, they might get mad at him. They are a malignant cancer and need to be removed. Short of everything they want they just say no.

    October 13, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. freedom

    Yes – it's the Saul Alinsky mentality. Brutalize your opponent and use inflammatory rhetoric. And Obama and is minions think they sound intelligent with these tactics? Please.

    October 13, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Geilan Ismail

    Unfortunately Rand Paul's comments show a complete lack of understanding of basic international economics. He appears unaware that the U.S. dollar is the reserve currency. This is quite scary for someone who feels he is suitable to be President. He needs to spend more time with his economics advisors.

    October 13, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. harrisonhits2

    We need to hang every member of this vastly corrupt and treasonous congress along the Washington mall and let the birds feast on their dead bloated bodies. Until we reward their treason with the traditional penalty for betraying an entire country the corruption will continue. Nothing else will stop it or save the country at this point.

    October 13, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. Tampa Tim

    Rand, Ted and their followers are terrorist POS. They all need a permanent cell in Gitmo.

    October 13, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Jared

    This all coming from a guy who is dumb enough to get caught whispering to Mitch McConnell, after McConnell told him he was "wired." Who elected Rand Paul? Wow...

    October 13, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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