Rand Paul - Debt Ceiling

Senator Rand Paul addressed his colleagues today on the Senate floor regarding debt ceiling negotiations.  Video here.


Madam President, I as well as many Americans are concerned for the future of our country. I'm concerned that we may not be able to continue to pay our bills. I'm concerned that one day in the near future we could look like Greece. I don't want to see Americans rioting in the streets because we can’t pay our bills.

That day is coming in the near future if we do not wake up to the problem. I am not alone in this. Members of the President's own Administration have said that the No.1 threat to our national security is our national debt.

It's out of control. Aug. 2 is fast-approaching. Aug. 2 is when the debt ceiling is reached. What is the debt ceiling?

It's like reaching your credit card limits. If you've got a $5,000-a-month credit card limit and you've reached it, do you calm the company and say, give me more credit, or do you try to live within your means, do you try to only spend what money you have?

We as a country have been spending money we don't have now for really a generation. But it's now getting out of control. We owe China $1.1 trillion. We owe Japan nearly $1 trillion. It's spending – spending addiction is our problem.

We are now spending -- it is just out of control -- we are spending $10 billion a day. Of that $10 billion a day, we're borrowing $4 billion. We are spending $100,000 every second. Of that $100,000, we're borrowing $45,000 a second. And we're paying for our debt at historically low interest rates, about 2.5 percent. But many of us have lived through a time when interest rates were much higher.

The historic average is over 5 percent. If interest rates go back to the historic average, we will be swamped in debt. Interest will become over the next 10 years $5 trillion. This is what looms; our future that looms is not a good one unless we get things under control.

So last week a group of us said, no more. We do not want to discuss anything else until we start discussing solutions for the debt, solutions for the looming debt crisis. We said, no more.

And so today we will win and draw attention back to the debt ceiling. We're not going to talk about anything until we resolve this. But we have to have a real discussion. It's got to include Republicans and Democrats and Independents and everyone. But you know what's going on?

There is a resolution before the Senate now; the Democrats say raise taxes and that will fix the problem. The problem is not revenue. The problem is spending. We used to spend about $1 in $5 up here.

Now we're spending $1 in $4. So $1 in $4 in the economy is coming to Washington. Twenty-five percent of the GDP is spent in Washington. But that's money that's not left in the marketplace, not left in the hands of those who earned it, and not left in the hands of people who can create jobs.

It's being wasted up here. We're not spending the money wisely. We spend more than we take in and so interest to finance this profligate spend something bankrupting us. The vast majority of our problem is interest, and it will grow. It's growing exponentially.

You can look at the chart on interest and you'll see that interest is going to consume us. If you look as the debt rises, it is rising exponentially over the next few years, unless we do something about it.

Unfortunately, I don't think the Democrats are serious about this. They've produced a resolution that says they can raise taxes, which is a nonstarter; it is a horrible prescription for an economy in the middle a recession and it isn’t going anywhere.

Now we have proposed a resolution that could fix the problem. Our resolution says that government can simply not act any differently than individuals – that they should have to balance their budget.

We've been introducing a resolution that says we as Republicans will vote to raise the debt ceiling if we do three things: Significant cuts in federal spending, at least back to the percentage we were before we got into this administration; statutory caps -- these say we are limited to how much money we can spend each year; and then the third thing is we want a balanced budget amendment.

If we have these, we will vote to raise the debt ceiling. But short of that we can't possibly vote to raise the debt ceiling unless government changes its ways. Government is not spending your money wisely.

People can't account for – even the Pentagon cannot balance their books. They refuse to be audited because they say they're too big to be audited.

We have to do something about a government that's out of control. But we want a serious dialogue with the other side, and instead what we're getting is a frivolousness.

So what I would say to the Democrats today is, you want to vote on raising taxes, you think that's an answer? They got a resolution.

I don't want to filibuster the resolution. I'll vote on it tonight. If you want to vote on raising taxes, if the Democrat party wants to be the party of raising taxes, I'm happy to be in the party that's not the answer.

So, Madam President, I call for a vote immediately today, Democrats want to raise taxes, let's do it. I'm happy to vote on that today because it is not the answer. If the other side wants to have a full-throated debate on this, let's do it. Let's debate over the next two days and then we have a solution.

Let us vote on raising the debt ceiling. We don't have to wait. Raise the debt ceiling contingent upon a balanced budget amendment.

The American people demand it and I think we should ask for nothing less.

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