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. richardparadox163

    So Rand Paul is asking the President of the United States to lie to the American people about the state of the economy. I think President Hoover tried that before the Great Depression.

    October 13, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Boo

    Why oh why are some politicans out of touch with reality. Lets turn back the hands of time and see what happened last time we "defaulted" ...huum or lets take this argument overseas to say Greece...The Senator makes no sense. Scare tatics? What's scarier is what the Senator is suggesting on the Sunday circut. Please lets vote to end the insanity and talk about reductiuons after we calm the seas and scare tatics.

    October 13, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Andrew

    So now telling people the facts regarding the Republicans' completely irresponsible behavior is "scare tactics". More likely that Paul doesn't like that someone is punching holes in the Republicans' nonsense.

    October 13, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. mtcawa1

    The arrogance of the Senate is beyond anything the GOP has ever considered. Neither side has reason to cast aspersions on the other, they are both shamefully abysmal. In all my years of voting I have never witnessed as many morally corrupt Senators as in this Administration. I'm surprised there isn't a pole concentrating on the Senate which seems to be ignored by the press. Putting up with Obama is painful enough, but watching the Senators who attached themselves to him is more than anything Americans should have to bare.

    October 13, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. drjehr

    What are the benefits of a balanced budget? Republicans scream about the debt only when a Democrat is in office. Reagan tripled the debt and they didn't say a word. Bush took us from surplus to massive debt. Not a peep until Obama became president. Back when LBJ was president (in the 1960's) we were supposed to get lower interest rates if we had a balanced budget. We had a balanced budget under Clinton yet the interest rates and inflation are lower under Obama than any time since the 1950's. So I ask again, what do we get for throwing all the poor off food stamps and their kids out of head start? If things are so dire why is no one talking about cutting oil subsidies for the most profitable companies? Exactly what are the benefits of a balanced budget?? I just see this as the 1% wanting another tax cut down the road.

    October 13, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. A Howard

    One should be scared if you think Rand Paul and Cruz make sense. These two especially Cruz will do anything for money and fame. Cruz is for sure heading to FOX Entertainment (can not call it NEWS) and a speaking tour etc. Not much left for him in Washington after he has caused the downfall of the GOP.

    October 13, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. sumedha

    hello America
    why we elect a idiot like this .

    October 13, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. ShawnDH

    Sure, Obama is trying to scare people. Now would a Republican like to elaborate on how more affordable health insurance is going to destroy America again? Okay then. Sit down Rand Paul.

    October 13, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. steven dahl

    Obama is breaking yet another promise today: He's trying to extend the Afghan War:

    "Talks between the US and Afghanistan to allow 10,000 American troops to remain in the country after NATO forces’ planned withdrawal in 2014 stalled Saturday on the issue of immunity for US personnel."

    October 13, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. obotmama

    its clearly time for congress to remove obama from office and replace him with a president

    October 13, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. carl marks

    The Republican Party has NOT done anything for the American people,since "IKE" built the Interstates.. Yet,every Sunday morning talking head shows anoint the T-Party Republican Bozo`s, hosts kiising their feet.Bowing and groveling.. I`m waiting for Nymphs to throw flowers before them..
    War in Iraq and Afghanistan added $6 trillion to debt...Bush tax cuts added another $3 trillion.. Since 2001 Republicans added $9 trillion to our debt..UNPAID..Now they demand,OH just part of it with the PEOPLE`s SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST..
    Why ask these morons ANYTHING..?? Ohio,has an economic development program.. It takes our tax dollars to STEAL from our neighbors.. NUTS...JUST PLAIN NUTS.. Kissy kissy kissy..

    October 13, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Air Lar

    Why wouldn't BO try to utilize fear-mongering to get what he wants? The art of deception is his specialty. He suckered 51% of the nation into buying "Hope & Change", and some of them were/are so brainwashed they bought it TWICE and reelected the guy. Easily a contender for WORST POTUS EVER. Definitely the most polarizing and divisive in decades, and if you disagree with that, you're a fool.

    October 13, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Larry L


    QUESTION: "And why can't I respond to any of these ignorant
    liberal comments?"
    ANSWER: "Because you have nothing intelligent to say." Like most wingers you only have sound-bites based on bigotry, conspiracy, and distortions of reality. Just tune in Rush, Sean, Bachman, Coulter or Glenn -for some new thoughts!

    October 13, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. columbus

    Unfortunately, the Tea Party began this mess and has always made it glaringly evident that it's a personal vendetta against Obama, no matter what his policies are. Now, they are finally addressing the financial issues that should be and should have been the focal point of the debate. I agree with Paul's current question, why do we need to raise the debt ceiling even though we have cut government spending through the sequester? We give away money, to the banks, to other countries, to corporations, etc. There are surely plenty of places to cut. But the GOP can't be all over the place twisting their messages from a passion against Obama to a passion to try to fix our financial problems.

    October 13, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Jim8

    Steve says:
    And why can't I respond to any of these ignorant liberal comments?

    Yes, WHY can't you? I suspect we all know why, you have no answer, because you might be the ignorant one.

    October 13, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. NorCalMojo

    Paul nailed this one. Government by crisis.

    October 13, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. J

    Rand Paul's stupidity scares me.

    October 13, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. Lenny Pincus

    Rand Paul waxing eloquently about anything is always worth a moment of reflection, if only to recognize that he will never rise to the level of the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers.

    October 13, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. sumedha

    two words for this idiot
    dumber and dumber

    October 13, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. OZ

    OK is the default is not problem, let pay our interest on the debt first and they all the Social Security, Medicare/Aid, contractors, & other obligations to the BLUE STATES first and if we have any left over paid to Red States. Let see if Senator Paul will think that s OK, since there is not problem

    October 13, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. nemo0037

    So... Rand Paul has absolutely nothing of substance to add to this train wreck. Of course, from the "hot mic dialog" last week, we already knew that he thinks the fight is a PR effort, not an ideological fight to the death of the GOP. He should just shut up and let adults clean up the mountainous mess he and his crazy brethren have made.

    October 13, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. ALinoge

    The audacity of these clowns is unbelievable. They're holding the economic well being of the PLANET hostage and accuse the President of using scare tactics? Randy, please get hit by a bus and get thrown into a concrete wall.

    October 13, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. steven dahl

    Obama is using even worse scare tactics than this. He continues to give $85 billion/month to the criminal banks while has taken food out of the mouths of women and children in poverty by shutting down WiC and is threatening senior citizens social security checks.

    October 13, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. Atul C

    Since the time, he has become President; he has scared people and unfortunately he has activists that follows him. There are gullible who think he can't say/do anything wrong.

    Same President on GWB's $3.8T debt in 8 years had said it is unpatriotic. What he has to say now, $8T in just 5 years?

    Democrats don't believe in containing debts, they believe in spending. Country needs to decide what they want, lesser debt or slavery?

    October 13, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. Back Bills Over Due

    Not paying the interest due on US bonds to American and foreign investors is the definition of default. Failure to understand that simple concept is more than adequate to disqualify Paul for his congressional seat.

    October 13, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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