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. Will

    Every comment I see is how Rand Paul is wrong....but not ONE single fact or sliver of logic to back it up.

    Obama is a failure libs, just face it and stop projecting your hatred of being wrong on us.

    October 13, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. raymond beckworth

    default?-will not hurt the poor; they have nothing. they own nothing. if you take 100% of their property–you get nothing;...........
    the rich and the super-rich will loose.-–1/4-1/3-1/2-3/4--of their gross wealth-?
    the workers will not lose anything;--We will lose our job......but-we will get free housing and free food–free medical.
    the rich get to pay 100% of the bill;-–screw–THE–rich–& democrats-&–republicans-&–the president.!

    October 13, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. karenascofield

    Using catch phrases like "fiscal responsibility" is supposed to make us nod our heads and fall in one of two political camps, kind of like like Pavlov's dogs salivated on command? Heh. No.

    The debt ceiling needs to be taken care of. Now. And that's not a Democrat vs. Republican thing or a this president vs. that president thing. It just is.

    October 13, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. w

    "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."

    Really?! Rand Paul who represents the ultra-right-wing-conservative-"christian"-GOP-Tea-Party-fanatical-extremists who live and breath by the concept "to scare people" in order to get their way is saying "it's irresponsible" to do so?! Well I am SHOCKED by the hypocrisy of it all! "snark" And by the way... the President should be ABLE to say that "we will always pay" our DEBTS (not JUST "the interest on our debt") but sadly individuals like Rand Paul have so succeeded in their ability "to scare people" that they have voted into office he, and other individuals, that have brought us to the place where we might NOT be able to do just that no matter WHAT the President WANTS to do and promise!

    October 13, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. John The Electrician

    Short selling America is treason. How much money do these people make if the country defaults?

    October 13, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. petemg

    How about if all of them would quit the blame game and negotiate and get something done. If it was their benefits and wages were on the line you know they could find a solution. Just my opinion. We do have the right to our opinion or is that being removed.

    October 13, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Vets

    Maybe he meant WINNING like in Charlie Sheen sense of the word. Rand Paul can only speak at a rate of 1 word per second.

    October 13, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. T E X A S

    Obama didn't shut down the government. Mr. Paul you have distorted the facts to serve yourself.

    October 13, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    At A_T: Yeah, Slick Will was between the Bush tragedies, cleaned up the first one's mess, set the second one up with a surplus and watched with the rest of us as the GOP and Bush pimped for war "do-overs" and big business. Face it, if the GOP gets its way with the ACA, the next time they'll try to repeal Medicare and/or Social Security. And remember, folks, the 2008 election slogan of the GOP was "Be afraid....be VERY afraid!!!"

    October 13, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. dick

    The rich should be very scared.

    October 13, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. Joe Texan

    Go for it Tea Partiers! Wreck the government, wreck the economy, trash the nation. Us democrats just love Tea Party lunatics. It will be decades before the republican party recovers, if ever. Hang that albatross around you neck. Go for it!

    October 13, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. skytag

    ""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.""

    This is so funny coming from any Republican. All they've done for four years is try to scare people. Republicans need to stop working to make people unhappy with the economy, hoping that will make people unhappy with Democrats and help Republicans win more elections. The more they tell us how bad things are, quote the highest unemployment figures they can find, remind us constantly how unemployment is worse than we think for this and that reason, why every piece of good economic news is actually bad news, the more they undermine confidence in the economy and that hurts the economy.

    They also need to stop pulling these stunts that only serve to upset people and keep them off balance. Republicans used to tell us businesses weren't hiring because of uncertainty and then they keep us in a near constant state of uncertainty.

    October 13, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    Want to help balance the budget, Rant? Let's start by ending the multi-billion-dollar subsidies to the oil industry, which has been enjoying record profits and doesn't need. Let's continue by collecting taxes on the millions, if not billions, that are in offshore accounts. Let's close tax loopholes that allow folks like Romney to write off $77K for his wife's therapy horse as a "business expense." Let's raise taxes on the wealthy who want to enjoy the benefits of a civil society without having to pay for it.

    Raise them on the wealthy who said if we just cut taxes, they'd create jobs. They've had 10 years to do it and haven't, so playtime is over.

    When will Republicans ever get serious about spending problems? Every time we have a Repub president, the debt
    goes through the roof. GW tried a fancy maneuver by keeping the cost of two wars and Medicare Part D off the books, but even so, he increased the debt by 20.7% (source: CBO Historical Budget Page).

    REPUBS are the problem, with their insistence on supply-side and trickle-down economics. YOU are the nincompoops who keep wrecking the economy with deregulation. YOU are the problem – and you LOVE to blame Democrats and for the last five years, you've done everything you can to harm our nation and our economy.

    You folks are the problem, Rant.

    October 13, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Bill

    It's not Obama that scares me, it's Paul...

    October 13, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. are122

    help bring fiscal responsibility to the nation’s capital. <~~Ha ha ha, not during this administration. Paul must like hopeless causes.

    October 13, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. here and back again

    Defaulting on your bills is a serious issue. But wait a minute...if the US Govt can default...without punishment...I can too right? Go Go GOP...I don't want to finish paying off my student loans. After all...what is good for your party should be good for me too, right?

    October 13, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. LetsBeCivil

    Paul about Obama "It's irresponsible for him to scare people," he said." Interesting from someone who succeeds in insulting or scaring people every time he opens his mouth.

    October 13, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. CJ

    What I hear and see is a bunch of politicians not taking the debt or shut down seriously. The blame game. They act as though it is something they can toy with, and hold the US in limbo while they commit blackmail to get what they want. This is no game. If I could kick some butts out the door of Capital Hill right now I would do it.

    There has to be a way to fire the thugs that are causing this mess. impeachment? States going after them? Fire

    October 13, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. Kat

    @A_T last time I looked when Bill clinton was in office we actually HAD money, Bush comes in and poof we don't since he started a war for his own personal reasons.

    October 13, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. Lanny

    It is becoming clear to me that the administration is trying to get the market to take a big hit. Why, you say? How about these reasons: 1) Obama will blame it on the Republicans. This theme is being played to the hilt and, don't look now, is working out better than even they ever expected it to. A big market down now would be the biggest 'in your face' event that everyone would see. 2) Big market down now would mean that most sellers would actually be taking profits and 2013 tax revenues would be very high, just like last year, and take a lot of pressure off the deficit. 3) Big market down would give his new Fed chief, Yellen, justification to continue the current money printing policy. Justifying the current policy is becoming much more difficult as, they claim, jobs are improving and the economy is much better. We all know it is not and they do too, but they must keep the interest rates down for much longer or their borrowing costs get out of control. And finally, 4) Big market move down now but would stabilize by spring or summer and be manipulated back up (by likely continued QE infinity) which would benefit the democrats in next year's election. We are being manipulated as we never have been before. Stay aware my friends....

    October 13, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. kebcarerra

    Trust someone when they say "should"to you ? All this free advice I bet the President can hardly stand it . .

    October 13, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. geno marcello

    Rand Paul is a smart guy, a good leader and I admire him very much. But he is not an economist. The IMF is issuing a real warning that America needs to raise its debt limit, and I think Paul and his colleagues should listen to them. The world economy is at risk here, and the world and America do not need another global depression.

    October 13, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. CaesarXIII

    Doom and gloom Obama trying to scare people? That's unheard of!

    October 13, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. Kevin T. Baldwin

    For any politician reading these posts who may not have not bargained away their conscience yet to partisanship: Since 2007 this whole back and forth between Republicans and Democrats has reminded me of two abusive parents, each one publicly blaming the other for how their children received their latest batch of bruises. In the end it is the child, spelled "U S", who suffers. Please look to your soul and stop...this...madness...now.

    October 13, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. mb2010a

    Pot...meet kettle.

    October 13, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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