Lew: Shutdown damaged the nation's economy

Oct. 20, 2013 at 1:45 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Sunday the government shutdown did damage to the nation's economy.

"Look, unfortunately, we learned in 2011 [during the last budget impasse] that when you get even close to the edge, it does do some damage," Lew told NBC News' "Meet the Press." "But we have a resilient economy. I'm confident that our economy can recover. The American people have been working hard to come back from the worst recession since the Great Depression. We need to make sure that government does not go through another round of brinksmanship. This can never happen again."

Lew said, "There are going to be people looking through the details of the economic data for weeks and months to come, both in government and out of government. We did see our borrowing costs go up in the short term. ... Our job in Washington is to move things in the right direction. This one was a little bit scary because it got so close to the edge" of refusing to raise the U.S. debt limit.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he's confident there will not be another shutdown when the government runs out of money again Jan. 15.

"The Republican parties in the House and Senate are not a majority Tea Party," Schumer told "Meet the Press." "They are mainstream conservatives, very conservative, but mainstream. They've seen their numbers drop dramatically because they followed the Tea Party. And they, I think, may decide not to go forward in this direction."

But U.S. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., told the program, "The real problems are that we're continuing to spend money that we don't have on things that we don't need. There's tremendous amounts of waste and fraud. We have to protect the promises made to American people. And we can do that, but we can do that spending a whole lot less money than we're doing today.'

As for the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans tried to defund or repeal, "I think focusing on Obamacare takes you away from the larger picture. ... We have $128 trillion worth of unfunded liabilities, and the total net worth of our country is $94 trillion. And we have another $17 trillion worth of debt."

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