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. allenwoll

    Hush !, Randy Baby ! ! !

    October 13, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. jpm

    Of course he is scaring people. It's all he's got. He is a completely failed President, has no clue what he is doing so he needs to paint a bleak picture while blaming everyone else.

    October 13, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. Mymy

    The extreme right wingers called for the shutdown and now are saying it is Obama who did it? They say they offered 14 bills for Obama and the senate to sign opening up a few agencies... and think they have the upper hand? Look, it a guy goes into a hospital and holds all the Doctors and Nurses along with patients hostage... and then when they are surrounded by police and offer to release a few "high profile" hostages.. does that really make them anything less than a hostage taker? Are they not still holding a majority of the people hostage? Next time you hear about a gunman holding hostages and you hear that they "released a soldier" but are holding 10 women and children, that you don't cheer the hostage takers.

    October 13, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. Jim

    'Barricade Barry' strikes again.
    I noticed they happen to have money to keep his golf course open...

    October 13, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Ché

    Obama is the good cop. I am the bad cop.

    October 13, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. YUCK

    Obama isn't scaring,us and besides,I'm sooooo tired of these politicians talking for us...two words fk you

    October 13, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. srcactus

    So much political rhetoric, so few pearls of wisdom from the experienced.

    October 13, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. growtheearth

    These are the discussions that are needed when passing the budget, not paying the bills. Hard to adequately communicate how sick I am of these antics. Last time around I wrote my representatives, but why bother anymore. It is hard to reason with tantrum led toddlers, drama queen teenagers, and petty politicians. The American people say, do your job!

    October 13, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. KEVIN

    He's acknowledging and admitting we won't be able to pay our bills if we go into default on thursday. What he is saying is that we don't need to go into default IF we make some major cuts NOW (but even if we do it may be too late – we only have 4 days).

    October 13, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. carol

    I am so tired of people for what ever reason trying to blame everything on the President. It is not the job of the President to do the budget. It is the job of congress to make a budget which the President can veto yes but they haven't got there. They agreed on a budget in July when Boehner meet with Reid. Boehner did not follow through on that promise. When Bush was in office the country went from a surplus to deep debt. Under Obama the deficit was cut in half, but they say the deficit is all his fault. He inherit the debt from two wars and the loans the Bush took from China. The interest on those loans alone meant the deficit could not good to zero. STOP blame the president for you NOT doing Your job congress. The budget is YOUR responsibility (legislative not executive branch)

    October 13, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Jeff Rozar

    Rand Paul knows as much about what's involved with the debt as a squirrel knowing how to build a house from a tree.

    October 13, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. John-117

    I'm not a liberal, but how can anyone trust what Rand Paul says when he is a known liar? Didn't he try to tell people that the penalty for not buying health insurance is jail time? Why does the GOP find the need to lie? Any 1st grader could see how the tactics the GOP uses do nothing but discredit themselves.

    October 13, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. Keep Fear ALive

    Another dangerous republican .. who needs his memory bank checked, since he doesn't seem to remember the Credit downgrade.. based soley on the possibility of a default ... obviously we are dealing with someone who is SOOO insulated by the warmth of his Tea Party's christian hatred, that he can't even read the tea leaves of Every Major Economist ...
    hey Rand Paul .. Open MY Government!! or resign and go home ~~

    October 13, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. Chris

    Obama has a plan to sink America and he's succeeding. He is as bad or worse than those other Muslim terrorists.

    October 13, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. hzritter

    I am sadden to read the bickering among the American people. If we do not like the people in the government we have the ability to vote them out. The question is will the American population make an informed decision or base their choice on smear commercials, and union reps threating jobs?
    Right now the focus is on our debt ceiling, as a person who budgets the family budget every month I say "NO" to raising the ceiling. American government needs to budget and lower the ceiling. Does this mean we have to skip pizza night? Yes, it does. Until Americans learn to control their spending habits we will always be on the edge of crisis.

    October 13, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Sdgman

    Yes... The GOP doesnt use scare tactics... Now who is on the Death Panels?

    October 13, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. Jim8

    I know I'm scared of what the Republicans will do with my savings and investments. I'm far more scared of Rand Paul than anything Obama could ever tell me.

    October 13, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. onlymho

    the final quote in the article says it all and says it plainly

    October 13, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. cg

    Luckily, what senate republicans think counts for nothing at present.

    October 13, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. Don in albuquerque

    As we already knew...Randy has no concept of much of anything. Consummate Tea Bagger. No plans, no suggestions, no clue.

    October 13, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. Frank

    I am shocked to see that so many well-educated and well-experienced politicians do not have the common sense. I am starting to think maybe something is wrong with our education system

    October 13, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. ShawnDH

    And doofuses like Rand Paul know absolutely nothing about economics.

    October 13, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. Paul2

    Why isn't anyone in the media talking about the House of Representatives rule change that made the introduction of a bill during an impasse? Now only the majority leader can do this. The tea party and Boehner have hijacked our democratic process to allow them to have their way on an issue the Republicans already lost on and negating my legitimate vote in 2012.

    October 13, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. Mary Ann

    Obama trying to scare me!! I have been scared since 2008 and it's not getting better.....

    October 13, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  25. Keith TX

    Rand Paul plans to run for president in 2016. If he's elected, the first thing he will do is to let the U.S. to default, just to prove his point. Anybody takes his chance? And that is what scary means.

    October 13, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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