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. Mymy

    The more and more I see the "front runners" for the republican nomination, the more I gain confidence that we dem's could actually put up Biden for President and he would look like the intellectual, soft spoken, candidate that Americans will vote for.

    October 13, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  2. Thinker

    Republicans disrespect veterans, because they used them to try and pretend that they didn't know that if you close the government down that means its closed. They are running down to the memorials to posture for the cameras, and apparently they think that veterans are too stupid to see what they are doing.

    October 13, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  3. charles

    The problem we have in this country is that most people don't vote. The country ends up getting creepy people in Washington. Americans SHOULD START VOTING!!

    October 13, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    He makes me embarrassed to be a Kentuckian.

    October 13, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  5. Jerry

    Obama and Democrats are real good at telling lies and trying to scare the Américan populace. And, sometimes it works. However, some intelligent Américans are stating to see through the haze. And most don't like what they see!

    October 13, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  6. digitalclips

    @J R Brown
    "I see tons of ad hominem attacks about Senator Paul"

    Getting irate with people like this is understandable, you have to appreciate the allies we're non too fond of Adolf either. There is a stark similarity with all extremists be they Nazi, Taliban or the Puritans of England. The common thread is lack of tolerance for science, women's equality and insistence on taking their gods into political consideration.

    October 13, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  7. Capone

    I find it ironic that the Teapublicans clamor for negotiations while simultaneously announcing everything they won't negotiate over.

    And they still haven't the faintest clue why their party is dying.

    October 13, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  8. Jeff

    Why are Dems so "scared" of what Paul and Tea Partiers say? We take in $200-$250B a month. Our debt service costs us between $30-$90B / month depending on the month. Why isn't Obama saying calmly, "we will not default on our debt because we have more than enough income" What is wrong with our President and this country???

    October 13, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. Bman

    Oh Obama is now the boogey man, Well thanks for that news update. The trash can is in the corner for all so inclined to file this article.

    October 13, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  10. sam

    Id like to know since im on disabilty and i cant live with in my means if i could raise my debt ceiling for my credit cards credit limits so i can keep not paying my bills???oh yeah then raise it again lol? oh wait i mean where are all the taxes im paying going to if i paid what i owed and everyone else did too where is the money to pay the nations bill? As well little more than if not even a month ago we had the money to start a war with syria??? but now we dont have money for our own country???

    October 13, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  11. Chris

    I really don't believe President Obama is trying to "scare" the American public. I believe he is telling it like it is – we as a nation are in deep doo-doo if we default on our loans. China will be first in line to collect on our debt and the world economy will pretty much collapse if we default. At best, our credit line will fall and we will be unable to borrow money from other nations. How did we get into this mess? Oh yeah that's right, the GOP and Tea Party being determined to bring down President Obama and the Democrats. Whatever happened to the idea of work TOGETHER for the GOOD OF THE COUNTRY? That "country" would be all of us, not just the 1% and the politicians. Vote them all out of office and start over, it's not like they're doing their jobs anyway.

    October 13, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. charles bowen

    The Republican lemmings lead by Boehner Paul Cruz and a cast of millions are headed for the Fiscal Cliff my bet is with all this momentum they will surely go over and into the abyss of financial collapse... For this we pay for the Republican Right and Teabagger Terrorist to ruin our economy our nation and our government not necessarily in that order......Republicans are just plain stupid selfish loosers and they are about to loose it all.......Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    October 13, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  13. Feel The Heat

    GOP has been using scare tactics for years.
    Now they don't like it.
    They invented it.
    Rand Paul may be a TEA darling.
    The closest he will ever get to the white house, is an invitation.

    Tea Party is going to lose big over this disaster.
    This was nothing short of a "coup" and the Republicans know this.

    Boehner just lost his job.
    Good riddance.

    October 13, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  14. Ken

    How many times are you going to give this stupid quote airtime? Every reputable economist and even the US Chamber of Commerce agree that default will be bad. Rand Paul is an idiot and a phony. Why do you cover his ridiculous statements like they are newsworthy?

    October 13, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  15. Bert974

    There's a debt ceiling; there's a spending ceiling. Oy vay.
    Reductio ad absurdum: no more government.

    October 13, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  16. Thomas

    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..

    It's nice to live in a fantasy land such as the one the Great Aqua Buddha preaches to those such as yourself .

    Your not a world economy , nor the US Government . And if you were you would raise taxes to compensate growth and spending. If you do not promote an environment for growth , infrastructure and maintenance , all of what s borrowed , you start to look like a dysfunctional country . Your return comes from taxes that promotes economic development .

    If you and the Aqua Buddhas economic's kindergarten PHD program was in place , we would have gone to war in Iraq on a pay as we go strategy , think of how functional that would have been . On the other hand , it was just as dysfunctional to give GW Bush a credit card with no spending limit ..

    Randy Paul scares me because he speaks to the hearts of common people , making diverse problems seem overly simple . If they were that simple they would have been done before , He;s a con man !

    October 13, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. NickAnast

    It's amazing just how much in denial these Republicans are. They know they have taken an indefensible position, they know they are risking catastrophe, so their solution is to just pretend that everything will be just fine if we default. Pay no attention to that crashing world economy! Ignore the huge loss in value of your 401(k)! Ignore the sharp rise in interest rates that just jacked up your mortgage! All is well!

    October 13, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    It is beyond ridiculous that anyone considers this non-achiever as a "2016 Candidate for president". What has he done that would cause anyone to believe he could be president.

    Ya'll must be's a talking about your much Beloved Messiah Obama Ole' Mr. "IF I HAD A SON" RIGHT???

    October 13, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  19. r smith

    None of you on here are scared by overspending. What the bleep is the matter with all of you.?

    October 13, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  20. Mopery

    Hey look everybody, it's the pot calling the kettle black!

    October 13, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  21. Sir Cecil

    The trouble with free speech is that it doesn't come free. We have to pay the price of listening to the tripe spouted by the likes of Mr. Paul.

    October 13, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  22. Don

    "During your tenure in the Senate we have no doubt that you voted in a way which you felt was appropriate. Unfortunately, our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous,"

    Twenty Tennessee-based tea party and conservative groups published an open letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) urging him to retire August 15, 2013

    October 13, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  23. soul68

    Republicans sure don't like it when other people use their own tactics against them.

    October 13, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  24. sammy750

    The Republican law makers who are Dentist, Vets, Doctors, and other professional seems to know all about economics. I don't they know anything. It just the Conservations extremist in them. They don't know what they are taking about. Paul, Cantor, Cruz, etc. are so incompetent

    October 13, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  25. shabba shabba

    Pay the interest on the debt and reduce spending. And we will not default. The only way we default is if we don't pay the interest on the debt. Its not rocket science.

    October 13, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
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