Politics

Newt Gingrich floats debate challenge to Harry Reid

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich would gladly debate Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the former lawmaker tweeted Tuesday.

“Harry Reid suggested people ask me about the effect of the 1995 government shutdown. It worked. We balanced the budget for 4 years,” Gingrich tweeted, following it up with “Harry Reid asked about impact of 1995 govt shutdown. First reelected house gop majority since 1928. Welfare reformed. Budgets balanced.”

 

 

Monday, Reid cautioned against GOP efforts to block Obamacare funding at the risk of a government shutdown.

“If Republicans force us to the brink of another government shutdown for ideological reasons, the economy will suffer. I would suggest to any of my Republican colleagues that has this idea: Give a call to Newt Gingrich,” Reid said. “He’ll return your phone calls. Ask him how it worked. It was disastrous for Newt Gingrich, the Republicans and the country.” Reid said Monday, according to Politico.

Gingrich followed up his initial Tuesday tweets with a call for debate.

“I would be happy to debate Harry Reid anywhere, any time about govt shutdown versus disastrous spending and destructive Obamacare,” he tweeted, going on to add that Reid “would be a great guest on Crossfire this fall. We could debate the 1995 shutdown versus out of control spenping and Obamacare.”

 

 

Gingrich was recently announced as a host on CNN’s new Crossfire.

Reid responded to Gingrich’s debate proposition by asking, via Twitter, to clarify that he supports “another government shutdown.”

“.@SenatorReid as I said in@washpost,GOP should work to keep gov open unless requires breaking word to American people ‪http://wapo.st/162YG0O ,“ Gingrich said.

 

Gingrich was speaker of the House during the shutdown. Some federal government services were intermittently interrupted, for a total of 28 days, from November 1995 through January 1996.

To be sure, while the shutdown has been popularly portrayed as a national disaster, economic data have shown that it did not hurt the American economy. During the period of the shutdown, unemployment dropped from 5.6 percent to 5.5 percent, far lower than the current rate of 7.6 percent. Between the fourth quarter of 1995 and the first quarter of 1996, the GDP growth rate skyrocketed, from 0.9 percent to 3.1 percent. The Conference Board’s “Consumer Confidence” index — which has only ticked above 80 in two months of the entire Obama administration — remained in the high 80s and 90s throughout the shutdown period.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who has been at the forefront of the defund Obamacare effort, told Fox News Sunday Host Chris Wallace that the government likely will not shut down over the attempts to defund the president’s signature healthcare law.

“We all know the government is going to get funded. The only question is whether the government gets funded with Obamacare or without it,” he said.

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