Former President Clinton steadfastly defended President Obama and Senate Democrats Sunday morning on their position in the debt-ceiling fight and criticized House Republicans for not being interested in real budget negotiations.
“This is the House Republicans and tea party saying, ‘We don’t want to negotiate with Democrats,’ ” Clinton told This Week‘s George Stephanopoulos.”They’re mad because they don’t want to negotiate.”
Clinton defended Obama’s position while calling the House Republican position “almost spiteful.”
“If I were the president, I wouldn’t negotiate over these draconian cuts that are gonna take food off the table of low-income working people, while they leave all the agricultural subsidies in for high-income farmers and everything else,” Clinton said. “I think it’s chilling. It seems almost spiteful.”
Clinton is no stranger to government shutdowns. During his mid-‘90s skirmishes with then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Clinton vetoed a continuing resolution sent to his desk by the GOP-led Congress that would have raised Medicare premiums and lessened environmental regulations. The November 1995 shutdown lasted five days before Clinton brokered an agreement with Gingrich that funded the government at 75 percent while budget negotiations continued for several weeks.
Less than a month later, though, the government closed its doors for another 21 days, as Gingrich and other Republican leaders insisted that the White House pass a seven-year plan that balanced the budget off of Congressional Budget Office projections rather than slightly more optimistic projections outlined by the Office of Management and Budget. Republicans eventually passed legislation to reopen the government, while Clinton relented and submitted a balanced budget plan based on CBO numbers.
Clinton’s approval ratings were subject to some volatility during and after the shutdowns. His numbers fell about 10 percent during the second shutdown, but it ticked up to 53 percent in a Gallup Poll shortly after the dust settled.
Clinton was also quick to say the shutdown negotiations he presided over were very different than the current fights facing Obama.
“The negotiations we had were extremely minor,” Clinton said. “The economy was growing and the deficit was going down. They didn’t ask for the store.”
Clinton dismissed any notion that Obama’s signature health care bill was in any way a realistic bargaining chip for the budget fights.
“You can’t negotiate over that,” Clinton said. “And I think he’s right not to.”
What We're Following See More »
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its score of the House-passed American Health Care Act, which would replace Obamacare. According to the CBO, the bill would reduce the deficit by $119 billion by 2026, while leaving 14 million more Americans uninsured in 2018 than under current law, a number swelling to 23 million by 2026. Further, insurance premiums would balloon 20 percent in 2018 and five percent in 2019 before the waiver provision in the legislation would kick in. The provision allows states to apply for waivers and permit insurers to offer skimpier plans, which would likely entice younger and healthier individuals to buy health insurance while potentially pricing older and less healthy Americans out of insurance plans. House Republicans approved this bill in late April without waiting for the CBO score.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that President Donald Trump's budget is little more than recycling bin material. "The budget proposed by the president doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing," Graham said. Graham had previously opposed the budget over its nearly 30 percent cut to the budget of the State Department. The budget slashes spending on domestic priorities while increasing military spending.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he doesn't yet know the formula towards gaining passage of an Obamacare replacement in the Senate. "I don't know how we get to 50 (votes) at the moment. But that's the goal," McConnell said. The House passed an Obamacare replacement bill which has been widely seen as dead on arrival in the Senate, and McConnell has put together a working group of Republican Senators working towards creating health care legislation which could gain the support of at least 50 Senators.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."