The Washington Post

Rand Paul, Anthony Weiner make their case on the budget and debt ceiling

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y), left and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) right spoke to both sides of the budget and debt-ceiling debates on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. (Amy Sussman and Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

“There is another alternative and that is we send a message: ‘You know what Mr. President, pay the interest on our debt – don’t default – pay the interest out of our revenue,’”Paul said.

“I don’t want to keep giving an irresponsible government more money,” the Kentucky Republican said. “Somebody needs to stand up and say, ‘The Emperor has no clothes.’

“We aren’t reforming the system, we’re still heading head-long towards a debt crisis,”Paul said.

Asked if he would vote in favor of raising the debt-ceiling, Paul said, “There is a circumstance where I will vote for it. . . .If we pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution.” Paul said another requirement necessary for him to vote in favor of raising the ceiling would be that existing funds be used to pay off the national debt – both of which are unlikely to occur.

“I think we haven’t yet determined what our strategy would be,” said Paul when asked if he would go to any lengths to block the raising of the debt ceiling, should his requirements not be met. “It’s precisely why I was elected – to oppose this kind of behavior.”

Asked if he could agree to a tax increase to help with the debt, Paul, like most conservative Republicans, said raising taxes was not the answer to the nation’s fiscal problems. “The compromise is not to raise taxes. The compromise for conservatives is to admit the military budget has to be cut,” said Paul, adding that Democrats would have to agree to similar cuts in “welfare” programs.

Weiner followed immediately after Paul, defending the president and his party’s plan to reduce spending and raise revenue. “The debt ceiling should be passed as clean as possible,” Weiner said. “The Republicans really have to stop playing politics with this.”

“I think that we need to have conversations about how we reduce spending,” he said, adding that those discussions should include “equality in the tax code.”

Weiner denied the assertion that Democrats would not be able to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year, and when confronted with White House adviser David Plouffe’s remarks last week that his job was not to placate lawmakers like Weiner, but instead to satisfy the demands of the American people, Weiner steered clear of criticism. “This isn’t about me or about him.”

The conversation turned to the president’s ability to compromise with Republicans following his partisan address Wednesday. “If they want to have a contest of ideas, they can’t expect the president to roll over to their bad ones,” said Weiner, defending the president’s tone and position.


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