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. awlgrip2


    REPUBLICANS have played right into Obama's hands. It's either take whatever they are given next week or be blamed for a "default". If they hadn't been so greedy a month ago, they could've gotten more of what they wanted. How many times are they going to lose this game before they stop playing?


    In your dreams....the American people know who caused this situation...........................

    October 13, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  2. Nancy

    More than 55 million stupid people voted Bush in for the second time around and they all deserve what is happening now (downward spiral of the economy). Damage is done and there is absolutely no turning back. We simply need to get used to a third world status with much poverty and civil unrest.

    October 13, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. gmclenith

    Rand, the President doesn't need to try to scare the public. You silly Republicans have already done that, with you being one of the worse. This is from a long-time republican who just went Independent.

    October 13, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  4. Pusser

    What's scary is that he's still wearing that goofy looking hairpiece. If he can't be honest with us about how he looks, how can Rand Paul be honest with us about politics?

    October 13, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. tbone

    Not as scary as his dad, Ron Paul.

    Old senile codger.

    October 13, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. blankcheck123

    It's irresponsible for Paul to suggest that the markets won't react to a default with a cascade of selling, stocks, gold, silver commodities etc. Plenty of folks are leveraged to the hilt and using US bonds as collateral for their accounts. A little move down in bonds would would go a long way in terms of margin calls kinda like the way a little move down in real estate destroyed the global economy for 6 years so far.

    October 13, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. wandering questioner

    The national parks are closed because they have to be maintained by government workers. For all those people who stand on their soapboxes and yell that they should be open then are you saying that we should cut our spending on the three things that create the most expenses: disability, medicade, medicare, and social security?

    If you’re tearing down barricades around the national parks and memorials tramping around these places dropping litter and then expecting someone else to clean up the mess then you must be ready to except the responsibility to make deep cuts in these very expensive programs. Making people stand a few yards farther away from these memorials seems better than taking away the elderly and veterans lifelines.

    Or we could just get rid of all these programs and follow the republican tea partiers and big business philosophy “if you can’t afford it, you can’t have it” sorry grandma and grandpa it’s not your fault that your parents created the baby boom problem but now the bills are due. But don’t worry; the 1 percent can afford all these things. So the American race will go on. All the rest of us have to do is work in meaningless labor jobs until the job, sickness, or old age kills us. As for the latest statistic that for every one job that is available there are four unemployed Americans well the conservatives just call the other three lazy (even though there are not enough jobs to fill the gap) Facts seem to be flexible for the conservatives.

    Does it appear that we are now living in Manifest Destiny at its worst?

    October 13, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  8. photografr7

    Obama is trying to scare us? 1) It's working. 2) Mr. Rand, you care me more.

    October 13, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  9. Wise1Speak


    . . . is low "informational voters" continuing to elect "lying, hypocritical, clueless Tea Party wackos" like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mark Meadows, and Mike Lee to the U.S. Legislature; so they can obliterate what took 237 years of increasing wisdom to make perfect. May GOD have Mercy on the U.S.A.

    October 13, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  10. Andrew

    Paul is a bigger fool than I thought he was if he thinks President Obama scares me. WE TRUST our duly twice-elected President; WE DO NOT TRUST tea party jerk politicians who get elected by a miniscule few wierdo freaks from one state.
    What SCARES ME is this: having to drive to DC to show my force of will. But I'll do it, just like I did in the US military. If I'm forced to do that, it will be the tea party politicians I'll be looking to find and set straight. They will be set straight and put in their place one way or the other.

    October 13, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  11. Deej59

    A Republican is accusing a Democrat of using scare tactics. The party that tried to convince people that allowing gays to marry would destroy their own marriages is accusing Democrats of using scare tactics. Wow. The party that fights every sane gun bill and tries to scare people into believing they'll be enslaved by their own government if they aren't allowed to have freaking machine guns. The ones who accused the Democrats of using scare tactics by talking about Global Warming, which Republicans insisted was a myth. You only hear the fringe Republicans saying it's a myth now. Too much evidence to refute. So they're on to the next scare tactic, stopping along the way to accuse the other side of using scare tactics.

    October 13, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  12. wolf776

    people should indeed be scared. Small men have been ensconced in our government by monied interests who wanted people they can control. They are now running amok. We need a clean CR and a clean house after next year's elections.

    October 13, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  13. No_Room_for Crazies

    As stated in many forms below, the Republicans are the much larger fear mongers in this debate. It started with their statements that Obamacare will ruin America, " the worst law every" according to some Repubs. Pushing this fear as the rational for all the Republican action makes the claims by Senator Paul that President Obama should not scare the markets by bringing up the specter of financial disaster absurd. Republican supporters should remember national debt has been around for a long time. It is the result of actions by both Democratic and Republican Congresses and Administrations. The now long standing cry of increasing debt will be our ruin has yet to play out after all of these years of Republican concern, yet most will agree unlimited spending is bad. Anyone building a case for no debt increase or a for program of unlimited spending is crazy. . We need reasoned thinking on both sides: some increasing National debt is not bad, some level of taxation is needed, cost containment and drives to efficiency are needed, introduction of new spending programs are needed as technology advances, our demographics change (especially so many more old people such as me), and new security threats arise. Rand Paul's no debt/balanced budget solutions have no basis in history as improving our economy and improving overall liberty of Americans.

    October 13, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. America1st

    Yes, because everyone knows the United States of America defaulting means nothing. What a tool. Keep polishing your miedical degree, because you certainly have no idea on economics.

    October 13, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  15. Denali

    We HAVE to get spending "obligations" fixed ASAP. We shouldn't be collecting taxes from the 50 states just to increase obllgations known so commonly today as pensions and public employee benefits. we are suppose to be collection taxes to collectively put into a pot for contributions that go towards the betterment of our Nation, that return a positive yield on our investments, and that promote growth, sustainability, and strength. We have used the taxes to lock our country into so many obligatory promises that the yield on our investments is in the red. That is ridiculously dangerous not to mention blind and foolish. We're taking in taxes to promise the poor and the un-insured and the teachers and all the other people who work for the public, incredible monetary promises regardless of the run away costs associated with these obligations. Federal collection of taxes was never, ever meant to be abused and income was never meant to be an object of incredible seizure. I surely am a very moderate person, and I do ascribe to the utilitarian belief. But the way the liberals are trying to total run and control our Nation they are using only the mis guided notion of egalitarian beliefs and it's making our country regress instead of progress. Sad group of frenzied credit abusers is what they are.
    The fact that we are citizens being forced into ginormous fixed obligations all because we are considered nothing more than the force that allows the government to issue "general Obligation" bonds, is turning us against everything good and joyful and beautiful and calm and balanced. We are letting the liberals make so much noise and kills so much truth and goodness that it's getting to where too many people I know are buying places in other countries so they can get out when thee obligations become too much a burden for our country to handle. How can liberals just say, yep, keep throwing money at something even if there is no real plan or model to ensure that we are not just funding extraordinary obligations that promise nothing in the way of forward momentum, an easing of our borrowing needs or the trust that we aren't just being forced into a situation like the one that happened in Greece. No thank you. I support and encourage the brazen forces in washington that are trying to shake some zombie like politicians out of their stupor and get them see the future and what they are doing to our country. We nee to end ALL defined benefit plans and put all public workers into a defined contribution plan system. And if we don't have a surplus, that contribution should not be anything till we have one. That includes at all levels of government. There is NO reason that property taxes are as high as they are except for the constant increases in the benefits packages for teachers. Tuition now at a public school costs more than at a decent private school and it's time to privatize our schools across the board. We are failing in education at the public school level. Teachers get lucrative retirement packages and health care packages all on the backs of home owners, butt then student athletes are told they have to pay to play. That's b.s.
    Unions have caused enormous trouble for America. It's time for a union of non union people to fight these practices and defend our incomes and our homes from taxation at the levels they are. I am a Patriot, and proud to pay my taxes, but I don't know anyone who's standard of living has gotten better since Obama took office.

    October 13, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  16. Amazing

    Yet, the Republicans don't scare anyone with their statements! When will the GOP wake up and realize they have complete idiots running their party. Smart ones like Jon Huntsman are marginalized by extremists like Cruz and Paul!

    October 13, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  17. Stephen Hauskins


    well everyone will get what they deserve. If you listen to loony bird Rand good luck.

    October 13, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  18. struggling in pa and always trying harder

    These republicans are a serious joke. Why does everything have to be so extreme. Its is like they only see things through a wealthy persons lens. There are more than wealthy people in this country and more average citizens than anything. They want to take away womens rights. They praise racism. They denounce corporations paying their fair share of taxes. They talk about poor people as if that is what they want to be in life and that is their choice. I mean really??? I have never met a person that was happy being poor. Its is a tough world out here. I have a MBA, three children and $100,000 in student loan debt. I can not even get beyond $15 an hour. I try so hard to get out of this poor cycle and it just never gets better. I mean what am I supposed to do. Work two or three jobs and leave my kids home alone or what. Its like sacrifice after sacrifice and still nothing to show for it . If this is my American dream than I was fooled into an education system that is not meant to get me anywhere and a crucial work cycle. If I do not know the right people I will never get anywhere. It is sad but it is reality period. I don't play the blame game for my situation but there are millions more just like me. This is the real world but wealthy people think this is the life we choose. I did not get an education and attain all of this debt to be just as poor as I was before I had an education. That defeats the purpose. But hey, tell me how to use my female organs, tell me I am in this situation because I asked to be, take away my options to have healthcare with a pre-exisiting condition and better yet take my tax returns when I cannot afford to pay my loans because I do not earn enough money to do so. THE AMERICAN DREAM!!!!

    October 13, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  19. dannyC

    Hey. At least when Rand Paul emerges from the GOP clown car for the 2016 elections he'll have the hair for it.
    Now everybody needs to do their part to make the following people think they have a chance to be POTUS. (Cruz isn't on the list because he's already got "POTUS 2016-2024" on his resume, despite his little "Canadian Girlfriend" problem.)
    Ted Nugent
    Bill O'Reilly
    Rush Limbaugh
    Matt Stone & Trey Parker
    Honey Boo Boo
    Homer Simpson
    "Joe The Plumber" who was actually a plumber assistant
    Audrey 2 (the plant in "Little Shop Of Horrors")
    A bust of Ronald Reagan (probably a shoe in)

    If nothing else, at least "Comedy Writing" will become a growth industry.

    October 13, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. America1st

    Thanks for the TEA SLAG RECESSION – tailspinning the United States back to the brink. Thanks a lot. Remember, 1,000,000 American families shoved on to the government dole will remember this November 2014.

    October 13, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. gstlab3

    being correct as in right and true are the anti matter to the iberal social engineers.

    October 13, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. gstlab3

    socialism works untill you run out of other peoples money and property to steal and tax.

    October 13, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  23. America1st

    This guy has a medicine degree. What's next, he'll start counseling on auto mechanics. LEAVE ECONOMICS TO THE ECONOMISTS. GOING BANKRUPT MEANS SOMETHING PAUL RAND.

    October 13, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  24. gstlab3

    where are all those anti war protesters and those speakers decrying the military industrial complex?

    October 13, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  25. gstlab3

    real news on the budget we do'nt have yet., that would be nice.,
    can anyone at cnn do math?
    like we're talking basic math.
    where is all this money going to come from cnn?

    October 13, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
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