rand paul

Rand Paul: House leaders ‘retreated’ on debt ceiling

by ALEXANDER BURNS, Politico.com  |  published on January 23, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul accused House Republican leaders of having “retreated” in the face of a confrontation with President Barack Obama, criticizing their decision to vote on raising the U.S. debt ceiling this week during a speech in South Carolina Monday night.

In remarks to the Charleston Meeting, a gathering of conservative leaders in the first-in-the-South presidential primary state, Paul rebuked the House for its plans to delay the debt limit fight by a few months. Republicans intend to vote this week on raising the country’s statutory debt limit to delay a spending standoff with the White House by about three months.

“I saw the speaker on TV handing the newly sworn-in president a flag. I am afraid it was the white flag of surrender,” the Kentucky Republican said, according to a GOP source present at the meeting.

Alluding to the House GOP’s gathering last week in Williamsburg, Va., Paul jabbed: “They came out of their retreat and retreated.”

Paul’s Inauguration Day remarks are the latest indication that he’s staking out an unrelenting, small-government position in the Republican Party as he weighs a national campaign in 2016. The Kentuckian voted against a fiscal cliff deal earlier this month that a huge majority of Senate Republicans supported.

In South Carolina Monday, he spoke at length about the need to home in on spending and debt as the country’s chief challenges. His remarks on the debt ceiling put him squarely on the conservative, confrontational side of the GOP’s internal debate over how aggressively to use the borrowing limit as leverage against the White House. Obama has said he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling and Democrats have derided Republicans as “hostage-takers” for threatening to trigger a national default.

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