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. Jim Oliver

    I hope Paul doesn't really believe in that crap he puts out. If so there is no help for him.

    October 13, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. mcp123

    "Yep, blame Bush....typical ignorant response. "

    If shoe fits wear it.... he started two unnecessary wars and spent trillions of dollars making America weaker instead of stronger.

    October 13, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. mcp123

    Rand (and tea party failboats) ... you dolt... its about confidence. If no one has confidence that we can fix and manage our problems eventually they take their money elsewhere. When they do...there will be a crash unlike any this country has seen.

    You only need to look at the stock market circa 2007 when the recession got underway for a small example of what will happen. This time...no amount of money will fix the issue.

    October 13, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. gb333


    He inherited a near balanced budget. If Republicans were truly fiscally responsible. He and his republican house and senate could have balanced the budget and been paying down the debt. Instead he went on a spending spree while giving us the Bush tax cuts. So instead of paying down the debt he double it.

    Obama was and is paying for Bush spending. "New spending" under Obama has been a record lows. It was the opposite for Bush.

    So yes I blame Bush, and i want to scream and eat my hat every time a republican points a finger at Obama and want to talk fiscal responsibility. Bush spending and "The worst recession since the great depression" are the bulk of the new debt under Obama.

    October 13, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. notnecessary

    Create a "Debtors Prison" (like in the old days) and imprison the Democrats there. They would post bail (10%) and have the taxpayers pay the other 90%.

    October 13, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. mfox

    why should democrats care about spending limits or a debt ceiling... they can't take care of themselves much less understand what a budget is all about or responsibilities.

    October 13, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Lenny

    bla bla bla and some more bla bla.
    How about stop threatening to destroy America?

    October 13, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. keven

    This idiot is playing with fire. All the economists and business leaders are saying that default will have drastic effect on our economy, if not the world economy.
    Buts that OK. I believe another millionaire over everyone else.....

    October 13, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. Nick

    Rand Paul is absolutely correct in saying that we will not default if the debt limit is not raised. In a legal sense, our government is required to pay interest on our debt before paying for federal programs. What will happen if the debt ceiling isn't raised is that there will be actual cutting of programs and an actual government shutdown, not this political facade "shutdown" that is happening right now. It is impossible and illegal to default on our debt as a county unless our tax collection falls below our interest payments which is not even close to happening. The Obama administration is just using these lies as scare tactics and people are eating it up.

    October 13, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Smeagel4T

    Where does he invent this stuff? The Democrats ALREADY agree in July, and AGAIN in the Clear CR, while demanding NOTHING in exchange, to CUT spending to the levels requested by the Republicans. You can't make any deals with Republicans. They lack the honor and personal responsibility to keep them.

    October 13, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. Bob

    If Rand Paul were a Senator in the 1940s, he would have accused Roosevelt of trying to scare people about Hitler. "War in Europe doesn't affect us!" is what he'd be arguing.

    October 13, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. jennifer in Houston

    Rand Paul and his screwy dangerous ideas scare me..

    October 13, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. The Cappy

    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.”

    This is true. But it isn't how the POTUS is playing it, and it isn't how the press is either.

    To people who take the position of "ImvotingforHillary" below ("And when we default and our economy crashes what will this liar say then." (hysterical racist text removed, of course)), I would ask why they don't see that uncontrolled spending is what crashes an economy. Why aren't you calling for an end to that?

    October 13, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Ariel

    Shut up and reopen our government before you are forcibly removed.

    October 13, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. theknown

    Well Obama is just doing what he has been doing for years, as the leader of the largest terror group Al Quieda he uses the same tactics that he has used to scare millions of Americans and he does this so that we all fear him, he does not know any better and was only put into power so that once he is out of office his Muslim Brothers can come and kill millions of Americans on our soil, first plan is to make us broke, next is to make us have health insurance, and while he does those 2 its to weaken our Military

    October 13, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Thomas "The one and only King Tombo" Nichols

    It takes a LOT mroe than ObamaScare to frighten this person. I have been saying all along "ObamaScare is a dead stick. They will NEVER see a penny of those wanna be fines.

    October 13, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. tom blier

    Why can't congress follow the path of Wall Street and under promise and over deliver?

    October 13, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Whitley

    Obama isn't the only one trying to scare people about the debt ceiling. So are the Koch brothers and the Chamber of Commerce and Warren Buffett and Wall Street, etc, etc, etc.

    October 13, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Larry

    Maybe the Republican lose the popularity at this moment, but then win the policy war? And later the American people will foreget the government shut down before not many of them feel affected?

    October 13, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. my10cents

    So while the government shutdown continues no revenue is being collected so even the foolish notion of "just paying the interest" will have its limits. In addition, if Paul believes that any country that goes from paying its debts to just paying the interest on its debts will escape unscathed from the bond raters he's a bigger fool than I even imagined. This is just a continuation of Paul's and McConnell's unscripted open mic comment. For the GOP it hasn't been about America since they lost the election in 2008 it was only about the GOP and an obsession with "winning" a not so covert war on the man in the White House. With the next loss in 2012 the GOP doubled down on the plan and unlike 2011 this time they will let the default happen because their obsession with the man White House has blinded them to the facts and truth what they are doing. For the GOP it has become all about "winning" and public "perception" of who's to blame. Regardless of what they want Americans to believe it is the GOP that will bring about the default because they started and they own the crisis.

    October 13, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. jim

    Rand Paul lost all credibility when he voted against better regulations for old gas pipelines, simply because it was a "regulation". In his limited intellect he was unable to differentiate between "good" and "bad" regulations. This was on the heals of lethal gas pipeline explosions in several states, including Kentucky. He was about the only person in the entire Senate voting against this regulation, which was also supported by just about everyone (including the gas pipeline industry), except perhaps the Koch Brothers. Under pressure, he later capitulated, but in my book, the damage was done.

    I didn't agree with most of what his father said, but at least the senior Paul was thoughtful in his positions. The "lesser" Paul appears to be trapped in the dogmatic ideology of the Tea Party and its benefactors. It is shameful how our Senate has "dumbed down".

    October 13, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Janalionberger

    I truly believe they need to go back to school and this time listen to the educators are saying...Or read some history books. And not ones that were written by fools.......Oh my I am embarrassed by these folks

    October 13, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. tipster

    How would Paul Ryan know what a good a leader would do? Talking points from both sides, only play to the base. They continue to put bandages on major problem. Why can't the Politicians do what's best for the country, instead of special interest groups, or their particular parties. The government shutdown is affecting real people this is not a game. I would say to anyone who reads this post ask your political representative to pledge not to leave washington until they come up with a long term solution to the debt, address immigration, reform the tax code and end the government shutdown.

    October 13, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Justice6666

    Thank you, Mr. President, for warning the American people of the potential consequences from the irresponsible actions of the Tea Party Republicans.

    And don't worry about all the whining from Ron Paul who is merely one of the lesser demons. The Great Satan manipulating the actions of Ron Paul and others like him is Charles Koch, a founder of the Tea Party.

    October 13, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Tekno

    Rand Paul, a scarecrow of Republican; who cares for his party, not American people.

    October 13, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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