GOP Sen. Isakson: Government Shutdown a 'Dumb Idea'

Friday, 11 Oct 2013 06:04 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson Friday called the government shutdown a “dumb idea” – and said he hoped a deal will come together to raise the debt ceiling, end the federal shutdown and begin “tough talks” on the budget.

“We should get back to work,” Isakson told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“I think those who thought shutdown was a good idea now think it's a bad idea – in fact it’s a dumb idea,” the junior senator from Georgia said.

Story continues below video.

He said he hoped an agreement to raise the nation’s borrowing limit would be more than a short-term fix lasting just six weeks, and looked forward to “tough talks” on the budget.
He predicted, however, the ultimate deal will be “somewhere between a big deal, and a bare bones deal to just lift the debt ceiling.”

House Republicans have offered a plan to raise the U.S. debt limit and end a partial government shutdown that would require the president to accept policy conditions attached to a spending measure, according to two congressional aides.

But White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday President Obama doesn’t want to tie a short-term increase in the debt limit to negotiations on the budget.

“A proposal that puts a debt-ceiling increase at only six weeks, tied to budget negotiations, would put us right back where we are today in just six weeks, on the verge of Thanksgiving and the obviously important shopping season leading up to the holidays,” he said.

“And that would create enormous uncertainty for our economy.”

Earlier Friday, Isakson – fresh from a session with Obama to talk about ending the shutdown impass – told radio station WSB, a CBS affiliate in Atlanta, the fact Republicans and Democrats are even talking was a good sign.

“When you’re talking, you keep talking,” Isakson said, declining to divulge any details of the White House session.

“The best part is that it was not a learning experience for either side. Things we’ve all been talking about have been communicated back and forth. A lot of times, if something is new to somebody, then it’s not a conversation. It’s an, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize that.’”

But in Friday’s session, he said, “the president was well informed over what some of us have talked about potentially doing, and was candid in his response as to what was possible and what wasn’t possible.”

Isakson said there’s no question there’ll be continued negotiations to end the shutdown and raise the nation’s borrowing limit, averting a financial crisis.

“That argument is over,” he said. “The communication lines are open, and nobody’s hanging up on anybody.”

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