Trent Lott: Government Shutdown 'Totally Unnecessary'

Monday, 30 Sep 2013 05:24 PM

By Greg Richter

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Former Senate Majority Whip Trent Lott has seen government shutdowns up close, and he doesn't suggest Republicans allow one to happen at midnight.

Appearing on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto," Lott said Monday that his fellow Republicans still serving in Congress should try to pass some things such as a repeal on taxes on medical devices. Such a bill would be hard for the Senate to reject, he said.

Tying it to a spending bill will not succeed, he said.

"Live to fight another day," Lott said. "This battle will be going on again in October and November and December.

"I think to have a shutdown is totally unnecessary," Lott added. "It's not wise. You know, we had that experience in 1995. I was the Republican whip, and I remember talking to Newt Gingrich, the speaker, and saying, I'm not sure this is a good idea."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may save the day, Lott said, by offering a short-term extension. A "clean bill" would last another week or so while both sides continue hammering out a deal.

Republicans want to defund the Affordable Care Act, but Democrats who control the Senate, have balked at that, as has President Barack Obama, who vows to veto any bill that doesn't fund his signature health care law that requires all Americans to purchase health insurance.

While many in the media, and some Republicans, have said the GOP will be blamed for a government shutdown, looming at midnight, Lott doesn't agree.

"It has not been for naught for the Republicans," he said, explaining that they have brought attention to the problems of Obamacare.

And though Republicans were blamed for the 1995 shutdown, some good came of it. President Bill Clinton realized he had to work with Republicans in Congress, Lott said, allowing passage of welfare reform, tax cuts, and more.

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