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. Kenman

    Yes, we currently have the most incendiary, divisive, petty and vindictive President in my lifetime. And the liberals that even recognize some of that concern will never admit their error in accepting the liberal media created candidate despite all the unknowns and all the unsavory past and associations! We were sold a bill of goods, and there is nothing good about it!

    October 13, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. Harry B Shaw

    Even though I disagree with Ron Paul I do have quite some respect for the man. He has some very good ideas. Im not sure I could vote for him but possibly. Where in Gods name his son Rand came from is beyond belief. What a flaming idiot to put it very politely. How could anyone have voted for this character I used to have much greater respect for the People of Kentucky. Then again they put Mitch McConnell in office too .

    October 13, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Rob

    Scare people?? Rand Paul, wake up you idiot! The debt ceiling is a huge deal. That's why Obama is the president and you never will be!!

    October 13, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Bill

    He's spot on. Obama is telling the public that we have only two choices, keep borrowing or default on our current debt. That is a blatant scare tactic. The fact is that we are prohibited from defaulting on our debt by the 14th amendment. As long as the government has money coming in, it has to pay the debt. Not raising the debt ceiling just forces a balanced budget, no more, no less.

    October 13, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. livingston

    @A_T You realize that President Clinton took this country from a deficit to a surplus don't you? Then Bush jr spent us back to one of the biggest deficits ever. Before you berate someone for not thinking, maybe you should do some yourself. The gop/teaparty had no problem spending money before this President came into office. Now they just don't want to pay the bill they ran up. How is that 'fiscally responsible'?

    October 13, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Al

    Rand Paul: Obama is trying to ‘scare people’. This is the quintessential pot calling the kettle black. This is the approach conservatives have been using for years. Lessee – Death Panels, ObamaCare calls for massive cuts for the Medicare, Deathcare. Were these statements not meant to scare people? Give me a break.

    October 13, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. rdbeard@nvbell.net

    I am shocked that a member of Congress does not understand the difference between the national debt and the national deficit. The national debt is the amount owed for PAST expenditures and commitments. Nothing we can do about the future expenditures will have any effect on today's national debt that was incurred in the PAST. By working on a budget that reduces expenditures while increasing revenue, we can have our country run at a surplus versus a deficit as it has done for the last several months. This would not increase our future national debt. But this guy stating that we need to cut expenditures to reduce today's national debt is looney tunes and shows a complete lack of understanding on how our government works.

    October 13, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Ellie Denning

    This country should be scared! We have a totally disfunctional government, we are slipping in education compared to other countries, we are the riches country in the word, dispite out debt and we have shameless people who are perfectly satisfied to let struggling American not have an opportunity for health care when all modern nations on earth provide preventive care and health care to their citizens.

    October 13, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Al LaRose

    Great Job Congress. first we have the Senate and it's Super Majority rule which seems to ensure inaction, to go along with the rules of each chamber allowing one person ( in this case Ace Boehner, to block criticall legislation from even coming to a vote. Along with the filibuster debacles allowed, is it any wonder Congress has sepoerated itself from reality. We elect presidents by majority, but thats not good enough in the Senate.


    October 13, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. TLORop

    "It’s funny, (Democrats are) all about Obamacare being the law of the land, but so is the sequester,”
    The clean spending bill sitting on Boeners desk keeps the sequester in place.

    Paul has no argument. What an explative.

    October 13, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. sifto

    Paul is absolutely right–I don't raise the limit on my credit card..just pay it off every month and live within a strict budget..

    October 13, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. GUTSY333

    THE BUSH FORMER PRESIDENTS are not being discussed at all. Why do you exonerate them? I am reading a book about the reagan presidency that includes the policies of the bushes. Very interesting and an EYE OPENER that exposes reagan and the bushes fairly. Lou Cannon wrote it; he was a White House correspondent under reagan. Read it.

    October 13, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. mickinmd

    Paul doesn't think a default is serious? He doesn't think it will lead foreign nations with trillions of U.S. debt to begin reducing it? He doesn't think it may trigger a Depression? Is he stupid, ignorant, or conning people?

    He doesn't have to worry about Obama scaring us. Paul scares us plenty himself!

    October 13, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. sally

    The Republicans, one and all, are a group of heartless, self-centered egoists who care nothing about the people
    of this country. Why don't they all just keep their miserable opinions to themselves and disappear? They have
    now caused chaos in the US once again, and running their mouths off trying to blame the president isn't convincing
    anyone. Give it up, jerks.

    October 13, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. figa

    Where are the other 'moderate' Republicans besides McCain and Collins? All cowering in fear of the few Tea Party senators like Cruz and Paul. C'mon Republican senators, you've gotten your sequester-level budget (or at least you had it), accept victory and stop holding us all hostage.

    October 13, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Thomas also

    A_T Difference with slick Willie is that he had a budget surplus.

    October 13, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. John McCrillis

    The republicans want to stall out the curent administration in a vain attempt to get some kind of Romney fiasco for 2016. Only problem is the average voter has seen what foolish behavior can do weather chasing BJ's to the tune of $50,000,000.00. Military spending way beyond normal levels. Rediculous taxes structured in off shore areas of anywhere but here in the US. Where is the beef? You can't have what you preach for in any sane society. The DNC is just as bad by not bring to light that which was behind the 9/11 coincidence nor doing what was needed (single payer helth ins.)

    October 13, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. innerjuju

    Dozens upon dozens of economists have said the likelihood of what may happen should the debt ceiling not be raised to cover already approved congressional expenditures. Rand Paul, an opthamologist, thinks he knows best. A little like the Republican stance on creationism and global warming, it doesn't matter what scientists say as long as the Republicans deny its existence. Keep your fingers in your ears, Rand Paul, and watch the U.S. economy take a nose dive. You might can live through another Recession. I'm not sure my household can.

    October 13, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Jane

    Many economist know not raising the debt ceiling to meet obligations already in place, not new obligations, do not agree with Rand Paul.. I am wondering where Rand Paul studied economics.

    October 13, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. Melissa

    It's not Obama that's trying to scare people, Paul. It's you and your fellow republicans.

    October 13, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. tagsp0t

    Everyone say it with me, breaching the debt ceiling won't harm the economy. Don't be scared of a default on the debt of the United States, be scared of Obamacare. Be scared of Obamacare. Be very scared of Obamacare. And how dare Obama use scare tactics regarding a default on the debt of the United States! Not fair! Seriously be very scared of Obamacare. Look at that squirrel! *Yoink*

    October 13, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. dean morse

    Such a crock. GOP spin masters, blame Obama when it is the GOP that has held the government hostage since this began. The GOP is solely responsible for the current situation.

    October 13, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. Thomas

    What this shows is that Ron Paul is not a true libertarian , he is TeaParty , and so is his son Rand .

    October 13, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. Seth

    This guy is a flat out fraud through and through.

    October 13, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. Wascally Wepubwicans

    Better get some gold and silver

    October 13, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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