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. Johann Sebastian

    Sticking with this story, there's no doubt that Obama uses emotion to get what he wants, it's a very classic, common psychological ploy used by immature individuals to get what they want. In other words, use fear, or being non-responsive at the appropriate time, delay important issues, blame the other side...One thing is for sure, in listening to Democrats, they're winning the battle, politically, and losing the war ideology, in terms of really screwing America, if they continue to play this game of not negotiating. Remember, all of America is not voting on these issues, it's only a few privileged individuals who are making this a nightmare for America, ALL OF AMERICA, LEFT AND RIGHT.

    October 13, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. mjbrin

    rand paul is just using the old gingerich/rove spin machine
    oooo..... be afraid be very afraid........ except now he claims it's obama doing it......

    October 13, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Thomas "The one and only King Tombo" Nichols

    ObamaScare is the ONLY reason I have a part time job instead of a full time job.

    October 13, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. f x lozano

    the scary part is that national parks are closed, american people are threatened and nobody can be found to be held accountable. welcome to big government and getting bigger. so someone is going to make a life/death decision and nobody will be held accountable. welcome to big government.

    October 13, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Just INCREDIBLE how the voice of a few high positioned people can be placarded all over the medias who love to print sensational headlines. No comon sense whatsoever. I just cannot wait for the US to get over the so called cliff and show all the doomsday parano imbeciles that they are just, well , imbeciles. The US has enough income to pay its bills PERIOD. The US will therefore NOT DEFAULT. The US will enter a period of comonsense income / debt ratio and stop living beyond its means. Interest rates will rise. Not so good for the millionaires bankers, but excellent for the millions of savers

    October 13, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. lroy77@comcast.net

    Obama is scary anyway. He would make a great Halloween mask.

    I have my own prediction to make: NOT ONE politician will be re-elected in 2016.

    October 13, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. moxjox

    "But Paul, a potential 2016 presidential candidate.....,"

    If he does get the nomination, it will be redo of Romney's losing campaign. Now if Christie ran..
    it may be different scenario. I think even Ann Coulter would agree.

    October 13, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Rachele W.

    This man is a Senator and doesn't even know how the US Treasure operates. The dumbing down of America is incarnate now in the Senate.

    October 13, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. rdeleys

    Looking for ways to save money? It's easy! For starters we could cut the size of our bloated military by 30% and end corporate welfare to oil companies, Big Pharma, and rich farmers.

    October 13, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Elliot

    Obama is not making up stories about what will happen if we default on our loans. He has listened to virtually every economist who has said the same thing. The markets might collapse and there might be worldwide depression. I trust knowledge and wisdom of these economists rather than a dope like Rand Paul who has no training in finance and economics.

    October 13, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. DYLANESQ@msn.com

    What a joke. Is there no depth to which the republicans will sink ? Rand Paul thinks President Obama is trying to 'scare' people. This from the fear mongering party that thrives on lies and scare tactics. We recall the 'weapons of mass destruction' claims as an excuse to INVADE Iraq. Then it was the Obama is a Socialist claims (not that a Republican could say what a true Socialist is ). I have heard registered Republicans up here in Vermont saying that they are DISGUSTED by their party. It is the Republicans that are trying to scare the public away from universal healthcare so that they can protect their profiteering corporate insurance agencies. Ain't that ironic – an industry that thrives on fear.

    October 13, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. Statistician

    The President is trying to "scare people?"

    He does not have to try hard. Everyone is scared.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is scared. Bankers are scared. Financial markets are scared.

    What is Rand Paul saying? We should not be scared of default?...

    Rand Paul is very scary.

    October 13, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. DaleW in MA

    Rand Paul, Kentucky, Libertarian, Not words I'd associate with sound economic theory or practice. This whole ordeal is just clueless jerks trying to get sound bites on cable news. Operative words here, 'clueless jerks' not only do they not have a plan, they don't even have any idea what they want in a plan much less the intelligence and compassion to implement said 'plan'.

    October 13, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. manhandler1

    It's not just Obama. Financial experts all over the world are talking about the devastating effects of a default, not just on our economy, but on the worldwide economy. So, in Paul's world, the President is supposed to say..."No worries" everything is gonna be fine even if we go into default." What a dingbat. No wonder his son is so off the wall.

    October 13, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. wendel

    well wall street is scared so are world leaders and most real economist predict doom So maybe this clown should be scared. But then most repos don't seem to have the sense of a nat.

    October 13, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Steve Thompson

    It seems criminal that this country disallowed to operate without a budget for so many years. How can we frame a debate about spending levels when there has never been an agreement about the base level of spending from one year to the next? Both sides of politics have contributed to this happening. I have no sympathy for congress and the mess they find themselves in when for so long they have been more interested in talking past their opponents instead of rolling up there sleeves and getting an agreement on the budget. Agree on that first and then debate about what is the best programs to spend those finite resources.

    October 13, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. Wascally Wepubwicans

    We are going to win this...he is absolutely right. Obama is scaring the people with his no negotiating baloney. Can't wait till default happens then we will see a very different president...he just can't lead! Obama is incompetent to lead a kindergarten class much less a country. He is an idiot when it comes to leadership...and Harry Reid is just as stupid. The demon rats are gone mad. But these conservatives are not gonna flinch.

    October 13, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Tom

    You know, China is telling the world to De-Anericanize!
    I'm sorry Mr. Paul, but yourt party has already done unrcoverable damage to America – Congratulations!

    October 13, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. paultea

    As Bobby Jindal said, "The Stupid Party" – strikes again. Are there any braincells left in the GOP?

    There is no debate among economists – a US default would mean a complete financial meltdown of our system. If anything, Obama and the media have NOT not been alarmist enough.

    Somebody please knock some sense into these ignoramuses from the Stupid party!

    October 13, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Jeff

    Scare tactics? When their own almighty Ronald Reagan warned the same thing about defaulting? I guess that was so long ago they forgot who he was, the rules must have changed since then.

    October 13, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. nyckid

    I FEAR NO ONE EXCEPT GOD... I am really sick and tired of extremely racist Rand Paul (the Civil Rights Act was wrong), Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber and not really a true American Cruz... the latter being a Canadian who has no real allegiance to the US other than seeingus like this, destroyed on the verge of a COMPLETE financial meltdown...

    October 13, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. john

    No one is being reasonable, that's the fact. However, the Whitehouse and Democrats are trying to force a deal that will put them on top until AFTER the 2014 elections and that should be a non-starter for the GOP. Most Americans are angry and want some changes according to polls and the Democrats are worried about the 2014 elections and want a deal that will help them through those elections. We've been living with the sequester for a while and it hasn't been the disaster that the Whitehouse said it would be so why go back and start spending like a drunken sailor? That's what got the U.S. into this mess in the first place and the blame can be put squarely on the Whitehouse.

    October 13, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Rob

    We have 4 day left until we exceed our debit ceiling and Ron Paul (aka RuPaul) is still playing the same song and dance that Obama is scaring people on the debit ceiling. Crazzzzyyyy talk.

    October 13, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. t3chn0ph0b3

    Rand Paul is an anarchist who is trying to make the world monetary system fail. Don't buy a single word of what this terrorist is saying.

    October 13, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  25. Granny2Shoes

    So wrong! The Republicans are the scariest people around. They invented the debt ceiling so they could mess with our heads every year by threatening not to raise it and sink the world economy.

    I just read this on Wikipedia: A January 2013 poll of a panel of highly regarded economists found that 84% agreed or strongly agreed that, since Congress already approves spending and taxation, "a separate debt ceiling that has to be increased periodically creates unneeded uncertainty and can potentially lead to worse fiscal outcomes."

    This fiasco is all the Republicans' fault. They are the Master Scary Monsters every Halloween!

    October 13, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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