Bill Clinton: ‘If I Were President, I Wouldn’t Negotiate’ Over Funding Government

In an appearance on <em>This Week</em>, the former president defended Obama against a possible shutdown.

Former US President Bill Clinton speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on September 24, 2013 in New York.
National Journal
Dustin Volz
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Dustin Volz
Sept. 29, 2013, 7:04 a.m.

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 »
TO VISIT US TROOPS
John McCain Paid Secret Visit To Syria
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Senator John McCain paid a secret visit to Northern Syria over the weekend during his trip abroad. McCain reportedly went "to speak with American officials and Kurdish fighters leading the charge to push ISIS militants out of Raqqa, the jihadist group’s stronghold." The trip was organized with the help of U.S. military.

Source:
‘MORE WITH LESS’
Trump Budget to Call for Major Cuts
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Trump administration will deliver its first budget to Congress in mid-March, and the president confirmed Wednesday it will contain major cuts for federal agencies." The blueprint, expected to be released in mid-March, will not include the kinds of specifics usually seen in White House budgets, but rather will instruct the heads of agencies to "do more with less."

Source:
DEFERENCE TO PRESIDENT
More Republicans Trust Trump than GOP Members
7 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
PAC WILL TARGET INCUMBENTS
Sanders Acolytes Taking the Movement Local
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"While Democrats nationwide have put the focus on President Trump, the Sanders wing of the party has engaged in an intramural fight to remake the party in a more populist, liberal mold." From Washington state to California to Florida, Sanders loyalists are making good on their promise to remake the party from the ground up. And just last week, a "group of former Sanders campaign aides launched a super PAC with the explicit goal of mounting primary challenges to Democratic incumbents."

Source:
THANKS TO MILITARY ROLE
McMaster Requires Congressional Approval
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login