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

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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. Tigas

    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a Sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. ...Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here'. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and Grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

    October 13, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    It's not just Obama trying to scare people, it's economists, common sense democrats and republicans, Wall Street, the Fox owned Wall Street Journal, bankers, and any one who's IQ is normal or above. Rand continues to make Bunning look like a genius.

    October 13, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. Nill

    Both sides are "trying to scare people."

    Unfortunately, both sides are so idiotic, they won't be able to pull out in time.

    October 13, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. Tampa Tim

    I find no comfort in being reassured by a bagger that if they get their way, we will be a better country.

    October 13, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. ib4ucy

    Since the beginning of recorded time, planet Earth has only seen 50 days of TOTAL PEACE amongst all of its Nations at any given time!
    Every Nation needs their own individual Armies or you and your people will not be around for very long on this Big Blue Marble we all call HOME!
    So I ask you, why is OBAMA obviously cutting back on U.S. National Defense?

    October 13, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. PJ

    Randy rarely has anything of substance to say and I doubt many listen to him anyway. The GOP has behaved deplorably during this crisis in DC and I for one am totally disgusted with them particularly Cruz, Paul, Ryan and Rubio.

    October 13, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Steve S

    Paul and the other Tea Baggers are part of the problem, NOT part of the solution.

    October 13, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Rand Paul compares the sequester to ACA? The sequester was created as a bad thing. Paul treats it like legislation that is good for America.

    October 13, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |

    I don't need Obama to tell me to be scared of WallStreet and their 1% friends who are destroying what our grandfathers built.

    October 13, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. nuclear mike

    The President is following the sermons of his Chicago preacher in trying to cause fear & panic among the citizens where he tries to have influence.

    October 13, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. sbul

    Hey Paul! Obama isn't who's scaring me it's you and the people like you who think you are above the Senate and the President of the US.

    October 13, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. Desert Storm Vet

    No, I think the GOP has already done that enough!

    October 13, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Jimmy Dean


    October 13, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. Desert Storm Vet

    NO, I think the GOP has done that enough!

    October 13, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. candodan

    Rand Paul is an idiot. He and his fellow House Repubs think they can turn it around on Obama. OUT with these Repubtards.

    October 13, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Mymy

    Cruz and air head Palin stand in front of the Veterans Memorial and say that Obama is using the partial closure of it as a "political" ploy???? Does Cruz not remember it was him who spearheaded the shutdown because he didn't like ObamaCare? Does he not see that by standing in front of the Memorial that he wanted shut down, he is using it as a political ploy? The answer is NO, because he is too stupid and self centered to admit his childish tactics.

    October 13, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. Pwr

    Anyone who could get in check the cost of their healthcare insurance? I cannot get the same coverage that I had (deductibles are higher) and the closest policy is $550 more per month....as much as my mortgage!!, I want my vote back!!!!!

    October 13, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Anonymous

    it's funny that Senator Reid showed up with a sign about "Opening the Government, Pay our Bills and Let's negotiate" . The House approved four different bills (including 9 Democrats), and the Senate just disregarded them. The Senate and Obama are solely responsible for the shutdown. Obama wants to impose that because he was elected, his bills are approved by the people already. BS !!! All bills can be improved, and the changes proposed are very reasonable. His ego does not allow him to acknowledge that. Mr. Paul: stand strong, we the people are behind you !!!

    October 13, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. Charlie

    Boo-hoo, Rand Paul can't get his way

    October 13, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. Ralph_in_FL

    Actually, the Tea Partiers are doing a pretty good job at that.

    October 13, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. Matt

    The party of "OMG DEATH PANELS" and "Social Security will lead to a Communist takeover of the US" is now pearl-clutching about somebody *else* "scaring people". Priceless.

    October 13, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Republicans are the party of hate, fear, and lies.

    October 13, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. mikeymo74

    It's much more dangerous to downplay the failure to raise the debt ceiling, as Paul and many other Republicans have done. Obama is simply countering their extreme rhetoric with reality. What the American people want is the truth, regardless of how scary it may be, not some poll-tested talking points like Rand Paul seems intent on pushing.

    October 13, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. JakeF

    You've already received the goods and services. Now pay for what you've already spent Congress.

    "Not raising the debt ceiling means you have to balance your budget" Sure Mr. Paul, let's go back in the time machine and spend less.

    October 13, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. vic , nashville ,tn

    US Dollar is international currency. So we can’t mess with debt ceiling

    October 13, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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