Leon Panetta: Five Lessons that Never Seem to Be Learned from Shutting Down the Government

Leon Panetta is co-chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, former budget director and White House chief of staff under President Bll Clinton, former defense secretary and CIA director under President Barack Obama, and an eight-term congressman from California. He published an op-ed in the Washington Post, which is excerpted below:

When budget negotiations broke down between President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress in late 1995, a shutdown of the federal government occurred during the Christmas holidays. Republicans in the House, under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), insisted on greater savings and cuts from Medicare. Clinton refused. As the president’s chief of staff, it was obvious to me that the longer the shutdown went on, the more the public blamed the Republicans. On Jan. 6, 1996, the Republicans relented when Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), the majority leader, passed the appropriations bills without the cut to Medicare and the House went along. But the political damage was done.

Since that time, the leaders of both parties have recognized that shutdowns are a bad way to do the country’s business. And yet, time and time again, the lessons from those shutdowns are never learned.

Read the entire op-ed here.

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the Committee.