State News
11:44 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Hastert compares government shutdowns

Denny Hastert wasn't the Speaker of the U.S. House during the last government shutdown, but he was an Illinois Congressman in 1995 and '96.  He told IPR’S Amanda Vinicky, this time is different.

Hastert says back then, Republicans were trying to get a handle on spending. He says it worked.

"We came out with a budget agreement, and because of that budget agreement, the first three years that I was Speaker we were able to pay down about  $650 billion of public debt. You know, that was, that was, a good result out of that. It was something that was necessary and that's what we did."

Hastert says this is different. He says Washington has failed to reconcile a budget on time, and that causes a logjam.

"If you get in these type of pressure cooker situations it's artificial, because people made it happen. If you go regular process you would never had had it happen.  In the eight years I was speaker we always went regular process."

Republican members of the U.S. House are refusing to pass a spending bill without a delay of the Affordable Care Act. Hastert says it's a wedge issue, but a relevant one to the budget, given the GOP's fear the new federal healthcare law is going to, as he put it, "spend us into oblivion."