(CNSNews.com) -- At a press conference on Wednesday about the national debt, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said "conservatives will not vote to raise the debt ceiling" without "significant budget reform." He also dismissed President Joe Biden's position of no negotiations, stressing that GOP commitment to reform will force Biden to "negotiate."
“President Biden says he won’t negotiate over raising the debt ceiling," said Paul, surrounded by other GOP senators. "I have news for him. He absolutely will negotiate."
"Conservatives will not vote to raise the debt ceiling," added Paul. "The majority in the House, the Republican majority in the House will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without significant budget reform. The greatest threat to our country is, and the greatest threat to our national security is the debt."
The debt ceiling is the maximum amount of money the federal government can borrow to meet its legal obligations, including money to fund Social Security, interest on the national debt, and other payments.
The U.S. government hit the debt ceiling on Thursday, Jan. 19, with a total national debt at $31,414,360,560,928.79 -- $31.4 trillion.
In the past when this has occurred, Congress has voted to raise the debt limit, sometimes with no changes and other times with built-in reductions on federal spending.
Because Congress and the White House have yet to work out a deal on raising the debt ceiling, the Treasury Department, headed by Secretary Janet Yellen, is taking "extraordinary measures" to pay its legal obligations. Some of these measures include suspending new investments for federal employees' retirement funds.
Senator Paul further said, “One of the great things about where we are now, though, is it doesn’t really take as much as you think to balance the budget. In Europe, over half of the countries balance their annual budget. We think of Europe, of Germany and Sweden having these large governments, and they do, but they’re actually fiscally responsible in the sense that they spend what comes in. We can do it in our country."
“If we were to have a $100 billion cut, which would still have us spending way more than we spent before COVID – a $100 billion cut and freeze spending, we would balance our budget in just four years," said Paul. "This is amazing. We have an opportunity here. It could be done. But it would take compromise between both parties."
“Republicans would have to give up the sacred cow that says we’ll 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," said the senator. "Everything would have to be looked at across the board. No one has a sacred area that would be immune. And when you make the cuts across the board they aren’t as big as you’d think they would be."
“It’s the responsible thing to do," he said. "But President Biden needs to know absolutely he will negotiate, and it’s better to start now.”
In a Jan. 20 statement, White house Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "Like the President has said many times, raising the debt ceiling is not a negotiation; it is an obligation of this country and its leaders to avoid economic chaos. Congress has always done it, and the President expects them to do their duty once again. That is not negotiable."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “One of the things we want to do on the debt ceiling is say to Republicans, show us your plan. Do they want to cut Social Security? Do they want to cut Medicare? Do they want to cut veterans benefits? Do they want to cut police? Do they want to cut food for needy kids? What’s your plan? We don’t know if they can even put one together.”
House Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), in reference to defense spending, told Fox News Sunday, "We got a $32 trillion debt. Everything has to be on the table."