Senator Rand Paul says he will not vote to raise the US debt ceiling

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Senator Rand Paul said Monday he would not vote to raise the country’s debt ceiling, as Congress once again considers the looming risk of US debt default.

“I think it’s important that we don’t make it easier to raise the debt limit,” the Kentucky Republican said during a visit to the local company that makes Phocus, a line of drinks made from it. carbonated water containing caffeine. “In the past it usually took 60 votes, it was generally obstructed, and I think that is how it should stay.

“There should be some kind of punishment for people who want to borrow so much money, and the punishment is this: they have to be recorded saying, ‘We are going to increase the debt ceiling because we have spent too much money. ‘money last year, or we’re spending too much money this year.’ So I am not for facilitating raising the debt ceiling. “

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Democrats and Republicans in Congress, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, are weighing possible ways to meet the debt ceiling. To avoid default, the limit on how much the U.S. government can borrow must be increased or suspended before the Treasury Department runs out of money to cover the country’s bills, which could happen this month.

Experts say letting the government default on its debts could trigger a financial crisis. Maya MacGuineas, chair of the Washington-based Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told the Courier Journal earlier this year that a default would likely cause “huge shocks to the global economy” and trigger a severe economic recession.

Congress faced and resolved a similar challenge just two months ago.

In October, McConnell and 10 other Republicans helped Senate Democrats cross the 60-vote threshold needed to push forward legislation that raised the debt ceiling by $ 480 billion and prevented the United States from defaulting on their debt. debts.

Paul was not one of those 11 Republicans.

He said on Monday he expects Democrats to need to wipe that 60-vote threshold again to face the debt ceiling this time around. Since the Senate is split 50-50 between the two parties, that means they’ll still need the Republicans’ help.

“But the people who are responsible for it are the ones who vote for all the expenses,” said Paul. “I have opposed spending billions of dollars that we do not have, so I will not vote to raise the debt ceiling.”

Senator Rand Paul drank an energy drink made with Phocus sparkling water as part of his visit to the Louisville company on December 6, 2021.

The Senate must give unanimous consent to deviate from the normal rules of the House, which include this 60-vote requirement. Paul said Democrats shouldn’t expect such support.

“We’re going to make them obey the rules,” Paul said. “We won’t give them permission or unanimous consent to evade the rules on this.”

Paul discussed the debt ceiling Monday during a stop at the Phocus office in Louisville. He came to honor Phocus, who launched their product in 2017, as Senate Small Business of the Week.

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“It is a testament to their skill and perseverance that they have lasted so long,” said Paul of the award he bestowed on the company as a leading member of the Senate Small Committee. business and entrepreneurship.

During his visit, Paul was also asked about his colleague in Congress, Representative Thomas Massie, and the photo he posted online this weekend of himself and his family holding guns in front of a Christmas tree.

Massie tweeted the photo less than a week after four Michigan teens were killed in the nation’s latest mass school shooting.

Massie’s post had received over 81,000 likes on Twitter, but also drew widespread criticism.

Paul did not criticize Massie for the post on Monday. He offered this perspective:

“I think I got Thomas’s Christmas card already, and they often have guns in their Christmas cards. They live in a rural setting in County Lewis, and they’re hunters.

“I guess it was sent pre-programmed. Every year they send something for Christmas.… But you would have to ask him. But I don’t think it was specifically meant for a statement or in relation to anything. that was going on other than Christmas. ”

Paul also said: “I know they are passionate about hunting. I know they shoot snakes, they shoot deer.… And they are big advocates of the Second Amendment and the hunt. I think that trying to say that was a statement about something else isn’t fair to Thomas Massie. “

Morgan Watkins is the Courier Journal’s senior political reporter. Contact her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @ morganwatkins26.

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