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 »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
1 days ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
1 days ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
2 days ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

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