Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra of Michigan says President Barack Obama as well as Congress must learn how to correctly play partisan politics and stop gumming up the government.
"Bill Clinton and [former GOP House Speaker] Newt Gingrich were awesome at multitasking. Everybody remembers them as . . . very tough and effective partisan politics," Hoekstra told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"They could be as hard on the other party as anybody, and at the same time, they always found a way to kind of come together on policy. We reformed the welfare system, we cut taxes, we grew the economy, we balanced the budget."
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He said that's exactly what lawmakers are unable to do right now.
"It's kind of like they're partisan politics all the time and they can't find a little bit of time to get in the back room and cut some political deals and get America moving," said Hoekstra, who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Hoekstra said the "perfect" time for Obama to have extended an olive branch was when he needed Republican votes on the issue of whether to launch a military strike on Syria.
"He knew he was not going to get enough votes out of his Democratic Party to get him to 218 votes. He was going to need Republicans," he said.
"That was the perfect time for him to say, hey, we're not talking about the past anymore, we're not going to talk about Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq. This is the future. This is really, really important. We've got to get this right. Let's rise above partisan politics and let's focus on getting the job done in Syria and he didn't."
Hoekstra said the president should have "set a tone of, hey, we're going to govern and we're going to do Syria right and that would have led into a much better discussion of very tough things, the debt ceiling and the continuing resolution."
Hoekstra said he sees no signs of anything getting settled on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks.
"I talked to a bunch of members on the Hill today. They don't know where ... we're going to be at the end of next week when we end up at the end of the fiscal year," he said.
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