Using the debt ceiling fight as a political strategy to reduce government spending is “disastrous,” former Democratic President Bill Clinton said Thursday.
Policymakers have long used budget fights as an opportunity to call attention to another issue they care about, Clinton said. “That’s fine, but to do it as a strategy to actually stop from paying America’s bills is disastrous.”
Clinton, who served two terms from 1993 to 2001, presided over two government shutdowns. Appearing on “Closing Bell,” he said a government shutdown would be a “significant negative” today, though, because economic conditions were much better in the ’90s and “it was still bad.”
“This is coming not at a time like in ’96 when the economy is picking up and the deficit’s going down and people think we’re going in the right direction anyway,” he said. “We managed our way through it, but it’s a lousy way to run a railroad.”
The threat of a government shutdown looms as lawmakers debate whether to raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit and pass a spending bill to keep the government funded beyond Oct. 1, when the new fiscal year starts. Clinton suggested the problem is uniquely American.
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