Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Nancy Pelosi: 'Reckless' Republican-led shutdown hurt economy

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed "reckless" Republicans for refusing to accept a deal to fund the federal agencies until 16 days into a government shutdown, saying their position cost the economy $24 billion.

"It took 16 days for [House Speaker John Boehner] to finally take yes for an answer. This is irresponsible. No, this is reckless," the California Democrat told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday afternoon.

Pelosi cited a Standard & Poor's estimate that shows the shutdown sapped $24 billion from the economy and blamed Republicans for playing a dangerous game of politics with the economy.

"Was there a temper tantrum worth $24 billion? I don't think so," she said. "Perhaps they didn't know how costly it would be."

The minority leader said she wasn't thrilled about the Senate-brokered compromise that ended the shutdown and raised the debt ceiling, saying, "I'm not pinning a rose on this bill." But added that the measure -- which passed late Wednesday with unanimous Democratic support -- was essential to avoid further damaging the economy.

And she chided Republicans for their long-standing refusal -- until Wednesday -- to accept a deal that didn't include provisions to stop Obamacare even though it preserved the Republican-supported $986 billion spending cap mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

"The House Democrats accepted the Republican House [budget] number. The only people not accepting the Republican House number were the Republican House members," she said.

Pelosi said she wasn't aware the Senate was going to slip extra funding provisions into the deal, including almost $3 billion for a dam in Kentucky and up $450 million for roads in Colorado. But the long-time appropriator said that because Congress enacted the continuing resolution funding bill because it didn't approve any of its 12 annual appropriations bills, the Senate wasn't out of line to include the extra spending measures.

"When you have a continuing resolution, it is all of the appropriations for the preceding year, and this was consistent with what would be in a continuing resolution," she said.

Conservative groups have condemned the Kentucky dam, calling it "earmark" for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., which his office denied.

When Pelosi was asked if she was worried the public would view the extra spending provisions cynically, she replied, "take that up with the Senate."

"But the cynicism is not about that. The cynicism is about the fact that government was closed for 16 days, that the full faith and credit of the United States of America was in doubt," she said. "And why? Because there are anti-government ideologues in the Republican caucus with the tail wagging the dog."

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