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. Jeff

    Well I see all the Obama supporters are coming out of the woodwork. Rand is not wrong on this, the Debt ceiling has absolutely nothing to do with the government paying its bills. You have to look at the way the debt ceiling works and what it actually is... A credit line. If we do not raise the debt ceiling, then we cannot charge more items to the credit card. You need more money then you call the bank and ask for an increase, that is all the debt ceiling is, a credit line increase. Obama supporters need to wake up and see that the republicans are actually ( maybe the first time in history) trying to help the people. They as well as Harry Reid knows that Obamacare will destroy this country, but will line their pockets with hard earned cash that they didn't earn, that is why they (politicians) have exempted themselves from it, and this is also why the Dems refuse to postpone it a year. All their hidden agendas will be removed, and will not benefit their pockets.

    October 13, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Smellferd

    Obamas tactics are a page out of rules for radicals. Anyone with half a brain can see the intentional fear mongering. Notice how the activities of the executive branch are not curtailed at all. Obama has to move fast because his support is fading as more and more people get a taste of the healthcare bill and realize that everyday joe is going to be paying more.

    October 13, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. Mikey

    Ask Paul where he gets all his facts! Gee, pay the intrest of 20 billion and let the rest go, Veterans ,Parks, employees of 800,000 and on and on! This guy gets paid 175,000.00 he dont care and hes only trying to position his self for the 2016 Election ! That 250 Billion is on ly an estament and some months are better than others ,the majority is bad! He needs to get his facts right! I wont vote for him, anyone in office needs to be booted , Buddy system has to stop!

    October 13, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. PA86

    Since Rand Paul is so sure he is right about this why doesn't he put his money where his mouth is so to speak - come on Rand, quit paying your own bills and see what happens. If you've got a mortgage, just stop paying the bill and see how long it takes the bank to knock your butt out the door . . . nothing bad will happen, so come on, just do it and prove that you are right.

    October 13, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Rand is a spokes person for the truly ignorant.

    October 13, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. SickOfIdjits

    Technically Paul is right, but it would require a massive reduction in spending, probably cuts of 30% or more across the board, including social security + medicare payments. Best case scenario from this, we'd still blow up the world markets, lower our debt rating to Junk, and send us into a deep recession or depression. All of this would create a vicious cycle where the massive loss of jobs + business failures would dramatically reduce the federal taxes being brought in, which would eventually lead the US into a position where it could no longer service the debt, and eventually we would default, and the country would be left in worse shape than Greece is right now. Either Paul knows this and is being completely disingenuous and playing to his teaparty base, or he's an idiot. In either case, it's outrageous for him to make the statement he did, and he has proven he's unfit for political office.

    October 13, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. gee

    A real foamer. Has bad case of mouth disease. Have compassion and put him out of his misery.

    October 13, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Terry

    He does it all the time along with punishing certain Americans, constant lying, and utter contempt to successful (White) Americans

    October 13, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Jeff

    Love how there is a difference of opinion between economists, the Obama economists are all saying this is bad and would destroy us, the rest of the economists (including 3 that have left the Obama camp) are saying completely different. See by allowing a default Obama and the democrats will be forced to have a budget and live by it because the credit rating will be dropped and the US will have the baby sitters watching over what it spends or they will not get the money they need.

    October 13, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. Mike Johnson

    Paul, lie to conservatives. Why not? Have conservatives ever seen through a lie? It's understandable why the conservative elite sees most conservatives as the nation's fools. They have acted like the nation's fools.

    The rest of Americans our minds function well enough to have grown sick of your lies and your arrogance. Sir, we are not all ignorant and poorly educated conservatives. We is you are a liar with no morals, decency or integrity. We have witness conservatives are vandals, extremist sand a threat to our nation that must be interdited before they can do more harm.

    October 13, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. Bluejeans

    I think they're all determined to shut down the government and starve people to death. Both sides. I can hardly believe what's happening.

    October 13, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Jill-IN

    Rand Paul, you are delusional. More than 90% of this nation doesn't care what YOU are willing to accept. YOU represent a congressional district and not all of us.

    October 13, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Kevin Dwyer

    “Not raising the debt ceiling means you have to balance your budget,”

    This is deliberately misunderstanding what the debt limit means. Paying previously incurred bills has nothing to do with balancing a new budget. Raise taxes, or cut spending, now THAT affects whether a new budget is balanced or not.
    Failure to pay for previously-spent funds, ie. not raising the debt ceiling, means defaulting on properly incurred debt.

    October 13, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. wcb2009

    Maybe the wood chucks in Kentucky are buying this. But, anyone with an education who has been paying attention sees this for what it is. A bunch hostile old men that cant stand the fact that Obamacare is the law of the land. It passed the votes and it passed in the Supreme court. Now the only way these obstuctionists can do anything is to try and defund it. How about these jack a#$'s stop obstructing. And yes, Rand Paul appears to be king obstructionist.

    October 13, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. Thom Burke

    Rand Paul's disingenuosity is evidenced by the fact that he is more worried about the spin than fixing things.

    October 13, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. Mary

    Rand Paul is a plastic Ken Doll replica of a person. If you turn him around and look in the middle of his back you will find a string that you can pull that makes him talk. the string activates the squirrell cage in his head.

    October 13, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. L.Sanfod

    Sorry Rand but it's the insane actions of GOP/TEA that is scaring the hell lout of most of this country. The polls show it and the republicans will pay the price at election time..The venerable old GOP will be history. The Cruz missile missed it's intended target and rained destruction on you guys.

    October 13, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. dave

    There's no sense in talking to people like Paul on economic matters, it's quite apparent that they don't understand such matters. It would be impossible for them to understand such things, you'd have to start at the very elimentary level, maybe never getting to the really difficult parts of economics. It would be like taking a child, who you know, thru testing, is pretty darn stupid anyway, then trying to teach him astro physics of something, you don't stand much of a chance of teaching him anything. It would help things if the politicians would just concede that they know next to nothing about economic matters. Like the child, it's impossible to educate all the politicians, you just have to weed them out, don't ask them such questions. Like Chevy, "I thought there would be no math". We have media people treating politicians like economic gurus, because the politicians have learned a few jingles from the right wing think tanks. We could have real interviews with real economists, but then the media people wouldn't know what the right questions were, and couldn't understand the answers, even to the wrong questions.

    October 13, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. TheMovieFan

    The GOP is doing a great job at scaring America all by themselves.

    October 13, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. rizzo

    "then it will be considered a “nonstarter” by Senate Republicans."
    Ooohhh noooo the party that doesn't hold the majority in the Senate won't like it! Shut up Rand you jackhole!

    October 13, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Dennis C

    Rand Paul pretends to be a Christian to get votes, but I bet that he is really an atheist. I remember the days when the GOP had rational candidates.

    October 13, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. JeffreyRO5

    No, Mr. Paul, raising the debt ceiling does not allow more spending, it allows the US to pay the bills it has already incurred. And no, paying interest only on debt is not avoiding default. Try telling your bank that you only feel like paying the interest on your mortgage and see how they respond. Seriously, moderate Republicans, if there are any of you left, could you please do something about the many misinformed politicians you have in your party??

    October 13, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Adventure49

    If you are a Libertarian who believes that we don't need government, then it is reasonable to assume that warnings about the collapse of government are simply scare tactics.

    October 13, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. Junaita

    He needs a new hair style, that's what's scary!!!

    October 13, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. sisterchef

    Many were so afraid the US would be seen as weak if we didn't attach Syria. But they are not afraid of how we will be viewed if we don't pay for bills we have already incurred? Idiots. It is actually the same thing as with the Affordable Care Act: it was approved and is law and now they want it back; the things for which we created debt were already approved..now they want to take that approval back by not paying the bill. Idiots.

    October 13, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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