Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Breitbart News exclusively on Friday morning that he believes President Barack Obama will cave on the debt ceiling and end up negotiating with congressional Republicans if the GOP holds its ground.
As Paul was leaving to meet with Obama at the White House from the Family Research Council (FRC) Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, he told Breitbart News he believes Obama will end up negotiating over the debt ceiling. Paul and several GOP senators are planning to meet with the president at the White House on Friday about the debt ceiling.
“He [Obama] says a lot of things like he won’t negotiate and he’s going to veto things,” Paul said. “He really isn’t that consistent with following through. I can probably count 10 times in the last five years where he says ‘oh, I’ll veto something’ or ‘I won’t negotiate’ and he ends up negotiating or not vetoing things. So, I think he will come to the table.”
Paul said he thinks the American people have rejected Obama’s refusal to negotiate and will continue to do so.
“I think it’s an untenable position for the president to say he won’t negotiate and to say that he won’t compromise, for the president to basically throw a temper tantrum and say ‘give me everything I want and I won’t negotiate,'” Paul said. “So I think he is going to have to come to the negotiating table. I’m headed over to the White House and that’s what I will say to the president, that ‘you have to negotiate.'”
“We have divided government and we also have a $17 trillion debt. We do have to negotiate. We do have to have significant reform,” he continued. “For me, it’s a pretty high bar. To vote to raise the debt ceiling, there would have to be a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution or it would have to be something like ‘the Penny Plan’ that says we’re going to cut 1 percent a year for five years and the budget would balance within five years.”
“To me, it’s bigger than Obamacare. It’s bigger than just one item in entitlement reform,” Paul explained. “You have to significantly change the course of the country for me to say I’ll vote to raise the debt ceiling.”
Regarding the plan from House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to split the debt ceiling fight from the Continuing Resolution (CR) budget battle, a plan the president rejected, Paul said he does not really care one way or the other whether the two battles are split. “I don’t have a strong opinion on splitting them or keeping them together,” Paul said.
“I’ve always thought that the best fight was over the debt ceiling because if you don’t raise the debt ceiling, all it says is that you have to balance your budget, and I think there’s enough tax revenue coming in not to default,” he explained. “So, with the debt ceiling, I think you could go on and on and on. And the leverage, if you’re willing to continue the strategy of negotiating with the president, I think your leverage increases over time with the debt ceiling.”
“Shutting down the government, I never thought was a great idea,” Paul added. “I think we ought to come to a compromise and get it opened.”