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. navaJohn

    When is Paul up for re-election? Oh right. He doesn't have anything to worry about there. Sad for the rest of us.

    October 13, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Sean H

    Are there any opening in Congress, WOW, nice job, where you get TV coverage like a celeb, talk about would have, could have, give speeches about would have, could have, and actually do nothing, but get paid and rewarded handsomely. This is the 2013 – Jerry Seinfeld Show recreated as today's CONGRESS, hopefully, next season, after the Nielsen ratings we will see some new actors at the helm.

    October 13, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Matthew Sanchez

    America the greatest country in the world is being destroyed, by corruption of our "Elected" officials in Government and by greedy bankers.

    Since when was it ok to arm terrorist who killed 3000 Americans on 9/11?. Our Government is putting us in debt we cannot pay back while them and their family's live a wealthy life on our tax dollars.

    The United states Government is dividing the American people on purpose while we bicker and fight they are in slaving us in debt and taking our freedoms away with fear that they are trying to instill in people.

    American Corporations and company's are sending jobs overseas on slave labor while we support and are obsessed with their products like Apple.

    I wish America will wake up and stop arguing and fighting playing politics. Forget politics our country is in danger, we are in danger, our kids are in danger. Both parties are corrupt and wrong our Government needs to be wiped cleaned and have these people thrown in jail.

    Wake up America we are in danger, race doesn't matter, religion doesn't matter, political party doesn't matter, we need our voices heard! We are unstoppable we have the numbers Government is afraid of us finding out or knowing what we are capable of and how we can change things.


    October 13, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. carlos

    rafael cruz, mike lee, rawdy paul and the cuban Rubio...............they belong inside a dumpster full of crabs, well, actually the whole repugnant party. I bet the crabs will just bail out of the dumpster as fast as they could. hehehe

    October 13, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. sumedha

    these guys bring republican party to new low.
    Next election we can say good bye to white house. looks like he is trying hard to elect a democratic president.
    I am a Mitt Romeny/presiden bush type republican.
    Is there new kid on the block who can stand up to this republican nonsense.
    Come on we do not want to loose the presidential election again.
    pls pls new young charismatic leader from republican party . I hope this guy is somewhere living in this country, stand up save us pls. It is time for new republican blood and he can win this thing next time around .

    October 13, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. Gunderson

    Liberal's been selling Snake Oil for last 100 years. You want old Gunderson comromise one more time and we fix it later. Been 100 years now and we now have 17 Trillion Dollar Federal debt. When you fix problems Liberal's? Sorry, no can do. Time you pay up.

    October 13, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. James Winton

    "But Paul, a potential 2016 presidential candidate"

    This is where the article lost all credibiity.

    October 13, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. Shay Fountain

    Like most of his ilk he is in cuckoo land.

    October 13, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Who Knows...?

    Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and the rest of the Tea-GOP are INSANE people. All economic & financial experts in this field are warning about the dire consequences of a default by the Federal Government.

    Mr. Paul is an Eye Doctor and doesn't have a degree in Economics! Don't listen to this man!

    October 13, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. DuluthMN

    Democrats argue that we should pay for obligations that came from legislation legally passed by Congress......honor obligations. Fine, it's just that Congress is spending $600-800 billion more than the government is taking in each year. That can't keep going without a bad ending so we might as well get that spending cut right now. To those supporters of the big government handout: At what point will you accept the idea of acting responsibly, either personal responsibility or fiscal responsibility by government?

    October 13, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. Richard

    Scare tactics? What, are you mad-crazy-insane?? Why don't you get off your lazy good-for-nothing ass and do something instead of finger pointing... You Make Me Sick !!

    October 13, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. tammyleg

    Hey Rand...you tea drinking moron. We don't need the president to 'scare us'....you and your crazies in Congress are doing a more than thorough job of doing that.

    October 13, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. jim

    Really Ron? Suddenly you CONS are worried about the debt ceiling? Bush raised it 7 times. Oh, and let's talk about your Saint, Mr Reagan, who raised it 18 times in 8 years.

    The GOP is a joke, and a pure evil one a that.

    October 13, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Jerry

    My debt is still here. What should I do? "Borrow" money on my credit cards and increase my problem or cut/eliminate unnecessary and unwise spending? I sympathize with illegal immigrants. If I were in their position I would be in a panic and a degree of a depressed state. However don't blame the U.S. and accuse us of being uncaring. Your home country is the root of your problem. Blame them and put the responsibility on them and hold them accountable, don't pass the buck. My ancestors came here due to unfavorable conditions in Germany and France. I am forever in their debt. We have offer "some" assistance but we owe our vets and others for their past contribution to this country. The "legal" immigrants should offer assistance on educating them of OUR culture and tradition rather than causing much friction within the U.S. If the U.S. is so horrible why did you leave your home country and come here?

    October 13, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Doctor

    "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."

    So... it's OK for you to be engaging in behavior that disrupts the markets and threatening not to pay interest on the debt, and Obama should be trying to reassure people as you do this? Insane.

    October 13, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. sly

    Paul should be EXECUTED on TV for treason.

    I would invite Osama Bin Laden over for dinner before any racist Tea Billies.

    Yeah Paul, why don't you be the only idiot in the nation who doesn't know that defaulting will be a major crisis.

    I really wish ALL the Tea Billies would run into their old KKK buddies who could then string them from a tree like they belong.

    October 13, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. Armagod

    I fully support an immediate balanced budget. At the age of 60, I would rather live in poverty without social security and die sooner without medicare than pass on the monstrous debt we baby boomers will run up over the next 30 years to my children and grandchildren.

    October 13, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Anonymous

    This hair club for men spokesperson reject needs to go away.

    October 13, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. EddyL

    says the tea bag terrorist to the country.....

    October 13, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. Magister

    When is Obama up for re-election? Oh right. He DOES have something to worry about there. Great for all of us.

    October 13, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. gordon

    Rand paul is like any senator recently elected. Wants to stay in office. Who funded his campaign? Let us not forget he' a Kentucky senator. He is the incarnation of the far right mascarading as a moderate pragmatist

    October 13, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. Todd

    Rand Paul and all of the Republicans are sacrificing the welfare of the taxpaying citizens of the United States in order to play their poitiical games. It's disgusting and as someone who has always been in the middle of the road, I will never vote Republican again until the party has changed drastically. They are pathetic.

    October 13, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. John W.

    New 2013 Republican party message: It's ok to default on your loans. Nothing bad happens. Democrats are just trying to scare you.

    So, if we all default on our auto loans and mortgages nothing bad will happen right?

    What happened to the fiscally responsible Republican party, I grew up with? Those Republicans seem to no longer exist!

    October 13, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. PMD2011

    The way to balance the Budget, just like in late 1990's, is to reinstate the tax rates under Clinton. Hence, we should eliminate the Bush Tax, which is costing $4 trillion every 10 yrs. Also, stop all wars, which cost $4 trillion in the last 12 yrs. The other GOP policy that cost $1 trillion every 10 yrs is the Medicare Prescription D bill passed in 2003. These GOP policies were passed from 2002 to 2006.

    October 13, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Newt tried this in the 90's, and it failed big time. This time Repubs approval already down to 26% over this. Its obvious that Rand's curls are way to tight.....

    October 13, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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