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Rand Paul: GOP will force Biden to negotiate on debt ceiling

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks at the CATO Institute in Washington, D.C., on July 27, 2017. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)

Rand Paul says President Joe Biden is bluffing on the debt ceiling.

While the White House has asserted that raising the debt limit should not be subject to negotiations, the junior Kentucky senator indicated on Wednesday that the president would have to come to the table eventually.

“President Biden needs to know absolutely he will negotiate and it’s better to start now,” Paul said, flanked by five other GOP senators in the U.S. Capitol.

Joining Paul in his demands were Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Lee of Utah, Rick Scott of Florida and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

“There’s no reason why raising the debt ceiling can’t have spending caps in the same bill,” Paul said.

The senators did not provide details of the cuts they seek, saying they would leave the details to the Republican-led House.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has also indicated that Biden would need to work out a debt limit deal with Speaker Kevin McCarthy, an approach endorsed by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Leader McConnell said something yesterday that I think is right on the mark: he said that when it comes to moving a debt ceiling proposal through Congress, the House should go first,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “He is correct—and not only should the House go first, but they must quickly show the American people what their plan actually is for avoiding a first-ever default on the national debt.”

On Tuesday, McConnell said he couldn’t imagine any debt ceiling provision passed out of the Senate with 60 votes being able to pass “this particular House,” referring to the growing number of hardline conservatives that comprise the lower chamber.

“The final solution to this particular episode lies between Speaker McCarthy and the president,” he said.

Paul said a single $100 billion cut would balance the U.S. budget in just four years, a prospect only possible through compromise between the parties.

“Republicans would have to give up the sacred cow that says, ‘We will never touch a dollar in military. And the Democrats would have to give up the sacred cow that they will never touch a dollar in welfare,’” Paul said. “When you make the cuts across the board, they aren’t as big as you actually think they would be.”

While the precise timing of hitting the debt ceiling is not known precisely, current estimates suggest it will come sometime in the second half of 2023.


© 2023 McClatchy Washington Bureau

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