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. Dont matter

    It is not just the president who is saying these things Rand, it is big business CEOS (read republicans) AND non political economists. There are reasons Rand never made it to being a president

    October 13, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. Quid Pro Quo

    [Paul: Obama trying to 'scare people']

    Well, don't y'all Republican featherpluckers do the same, through your right-wing talk-radio f_arts? Y'all just don't do it yourselves, you hire paid "professionals" to do that. That's the only difference.

    October 13, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. deal2u

    Nobody has mentioned the BILLIONS we send overseas to prop up governments that should be taking care of themselves,
    The USA has not been appointed as police force or care givers of the world.
    Take care of your own first!

    October 13, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. Peter Wexler

    This is sedition.

    October 13, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. mark shurvin

    Is this the same Rand Paul who's against government handouts..........except when they're going toward paying his fees as an opthamoligist?

    October 13, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. David Garrett Izzo

    Paul says:
    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."

    A bit of a sly way to say that the debt ceiling will not be raised but that the President can just pay interest. In personal household economics, how long will that work and would anyone loan an individual anymore money if the principal is never reduced. Personal credit ratings fall, and interest rates climb in these cases. The nation's credit rating will also fall and interest rates will be raised; ultimately, individual interest rates will be raised. Mortgages and car loans will be more expensive and leftover funds will be reduced that would otherwise be spent on other goods and services. The economy will slow down, unemployment will go up. This is simple economics; yet, the "stupid party" being simpleminded, doesn't get it.

    October 13, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. duh

    reality is republicans want to keep their wealth, keep a class system in place, thats what a balanced government budget means....want the good times to keep rolling=raise the debt cieling because contrary to scare tactics with the favorite phrase, in your household you dont just buy on credit....blah,.,blah....reality is, governments dont need to worry about household budget type scenarios because the government prints the money....the idiots shoving the balanced budget idea are doing it for their best interests, not the publics

    October 13, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. gordon

    Just watched zakaria gps- if all news was of that quality this country would be different. An objective discussion of the the current situation. A culmination of an ignorant manipulated public amplified and hardened by biased media and executed by a government backed by money focused on narrow

    October 13, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. The Brutal Truth

    I don't see the big deal with spending money you don't have. And then borrowing to pay off your debts.

    Look at all those payday loan places that help people manage their debt! Same principle–you get into debt, spend what you have on stuff you don't need, and then when your bills come due, borrow more money to pay off the bills!

    See, makes perfect sense.

    October 13, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. tstorm92

    Rand Paul represents the ignoarnce and the cowarcice of today's GOP. Thank God we have a strong president, like Obama, who is not willing to deal with these "Tea Party Terrorists" who are trying to bring down our government!

    October 13, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Harry B Shaw

    The real scary thing is that anyone would listen to an idiot like this. Essentially 100% of real experts predict real bad things of not raising the debt ceiling. Its a grand thought that we can just pay our bills late with no consequences. Can you pay your mortgage late with no negative consequences? Perhaps just maybe we could squeak thru but what happens if we cant? What happens if your Social Security Check is a couple of weeks late? What do you think your creditors are going to say. What happens to the disabled veteran that gets his Medicine A couple of weeks late. Very wishful thinking that a country does not pay its bills on time.

    October 13, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Quest

    One thing is certain, Rand Paul is delusional. He is a total, backwards, deep-south redneck, and he'll never be anything more than he is now, and it isn't much. Anyone could do his job because he gets away with saying the most stupid things. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan etc., they're all wimps, and they're not going anywhere. They should also be incarcerated for corruption. We don't need them, or their red-neck regions they represent for anything.

    October 13, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Kris in AL

    Key phrase "a good leader."

    Why would ANY leader try to rattle the stock market? The world market?

    "Never let a crisis go to waste".....or better put...."never miss a good opportunity to create a crisis?"

    October 13, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. Eric Kiel

    Rand Paul was elected by 26% of the registered voters (look it up on Kentucky's Sec of State) that's sure not a mandate. And if paying just your interest isn't a default try telling that to Citibank, Ford Motor Credit or your home mortgage holder

    October 13, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. gary

    Obama is King George the 3rd., he is having a war on Christianity, he is arrogant, he is a gay Kenyan, he doesn't love America, he wasn't even born here. And they say they are the reasonable ones!. They shut down the government because people are getting health insurance which every western country has except the U.S. They won't cut corporate welfare, but don't like it for the poor or unemployed. They make me sick to my stomach. And they are all RICH and get richer while in office. And, oh, do they have healthcare? Gee, YES they do. How weird is that?

    October 13, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. BobbyEarl

    If you are willing to hurt people to get your way then no one should negotiate with these tea party people. That would be like negotiating with a terrorist. On top of that then the tea party acts like it is someone else s fault. This is crazy to listen to and would be entertaining if it was not hurting so many people.

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

    "Bland Paul Digs Deep for Credibility"
    Thinks Tea Party Extortion Just Dandy

    October 13, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    ...as i recall, the reason why we don't have MORE spending cuts is because the Republicans refuse to increase any taxes.

    you can't keep cutting taxes and expect the government to be able to pay all its bills. it is REALLY that simple.

    during the worst economic crisis since the great depression, a little deficit spending isn't just allowable, it is encouraged. what would be nice, is if we could stabilize the economic recovery without having shutdowns and credit loses during this same period of time

    –once we get some more stability, then we can ease up on spending and start talking tax increases.

    ...but the House Republicans and the Tea Party KNOW this. well, the House Republicans know this. i'm not sure what the Tea Party knows anymore...

    October 13, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. sistersue204

    Rand Paul only repeats what the Koch Brothers want him to repeat. The man is not capable of an independent thought, nor is any other representative member of the Tea Party. The truth about human nature is that we oppose that which we fear and we fear that which we do not understand; and that most bullies are those who are most fearful and hide their fear behind false bravado. How do you stop a bully? You stand up to him and force him to face his fear. How do you prevent yourself from being a bully? Knowledge. Unfortunately, I have yet to meet an elected the Tea Partier who possesses any real knowledge. It's going to take those who have supported the Tea Party to realize that they have been played as fools.

    October 13, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. MS

    He's right. There is no reason to default. Obama is holding a gun to the head of the US credit worthiness unless the Congress votes his way, but deciding what to spend money on is Congress' decision, not his. Its just more pettiness from Obama, like shutting down parks and white house tours first while sending 300 million dollars to Detroit cronies.

    October 13, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. Seth Hill

    Your grandfather can't afford his apartment and food any more. Your mother needs dialysis, which is very expensive. Your brother and sister guardi your house to keep out roving gangs, but they're out of ammo and one of their guns jammed. You can't afford to pay for all of this. What do you do? (I have my answer, but I'd like to see yours first.)

    October 13, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. drjehr

    What Rand Paul is saying just doesn't include arithmetic. If we don't raise the debt limit we can't pay all our obligations. Any normal person knows that whether you fail to pay your mortgage or your Macy's bill makes no difference to a credit bureau. You're late, then delinquent. Your credit score tumbles. The same is true for the US treasury. If they don't pay principal AND interest to a creditor exactly when it's due, it's a default and the country loses its spotless credit rating. The money's already been spent and the amount owed is considerable. The potential damage is unknown because it's never happened.

    October 13, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. Fulano

    Rand Paul is scarier than Rafael Cruz- Paul has more brains and drinks more kool aide.

    October 13, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. Fulano

    "[Cruz] pushed House Republicans into traffic and wandered away." – Grover Norquist

    No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. – Edward R. Murrow.

    October 13, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Aqua Buddha says the President "lies" and Canuck Cruz says the polls are "skewd".

    And why was there an autopsy on why there is NOT a President Mitt the Twit? One of the outcomes was Gallop over sampled us white folks and that was why the polls were "skewed".

    I am looking forward to the 2014 "autopsy" that will be done after the GOP loses the House majority.

    First on the list, Canuck Cruz's dismissal of statistical polls, and saying "that is not where America is today".

    Of course, after the GOP House causes a default, perhaps the trials for sedition against the TP terrorists will also be a clue. For you debt deniers, I Googled the big word for you "insurrection against the established order"

    There will be ample video of the TP terrorists advocating sedition, so much so, that we may have to move the trial to The Hague!

    October 13, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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