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Rand Paul: ‘I’m in the minority of the minority’ of Republicans standing for debt ceiling, sequester

Senator Rand Paul claimed he’s “in the minority of the minority” on limiting the debt ceiling and keeping the remaining 70 percent of the sequester, saying he “doesn’t have any high hopes on Republicans standing firm.”

Paul spoke with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about the fiscal challenges facing the United States in the coming months, particularly the debt ceiling deadline looming in February. Although Blitzer invoked Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s dire predictions of a credit downgrade should Congress fail to raise the ceiling, Paul refused to pledge his vote for an increase without significant concessions from the Democrats.

“The interesting thing is, in 2011 when we did raise the debt ceiling and we added sequester budget caps to try to restrain spending, S&P said it was inadequate and downgraded our debt anyway,” he noted. “We’ve now given up on the sequester, so absolutely we should tie any increase in the debt ceiling to budgetary restraint.”

Blitzer tried to clarify the senator’s remarks. “What I hear you saying is, unless the president is willing to accept some concessions that the Republican side is demanding, you won’t vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.”

“Yeah, but I’m afraid I’m in the minority of the minority,” Paul responded. “The recent Ryan-Murray budget already gave up on the sequester. So I jokingly said, ‘Are you going to be able to stop the debt ceiling? What would we ask for, getting back what we already just gave up a month ago?’ So I don’t have any high hopes for Republicans standing firm and saying we won’t raise the debt ceiling. They’ve already been played.”

“I mean, they’ve showed that they’re unwilling to stand firm because we gave up the sequester,” he continued. “To think they’re all of a sudden going to get a backbone and say, ‘Oh well now we’re going to stand up,’ and what are we going to ask for? The sequester back? I mean, the sequester slowed down the rate of growth of spending, but didn’t even make any cuts. And we gave up on that. So I’m kind of discouraged about how things are going around in Washington.”

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