By Mick Krever, CNN
A top economic aide to U.S. President Bill Clinton said that unlike the last government shutdown, in 1995, the Republican party of 2013 has no idea what it wants.
“We do not have anyone in charge,” Laura Tyson, former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday. “Speaker Boehner cannot control the Republican majority.”
By contrast, during the 1995-96 shutdown, she said, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was a “powerful” leader.
“He was able to control his party,” she said. “It was a failed tactic on their part – they ended up suffering in the polls and they ended up helping to re-elect President Clinton the next year – but he had control of the tactic and he had control of what they wanted to get.”
“Here we have a situation where the Republicans are not united,” Tyson told Amanpour. “Boehner cannot raise a deal, as we saw just yesterday. And there a number of people in his party who have different demands.”
Some Republicans want to reign in government spending, some want to repeal Obamacare, and some simply want to undermine President Obama at any opportunity, she said.
And there is no doubt, she told Amanpour what impact they have had.
“The fiscal authorities – in particular led by a House that I would argue is basically not governable right now,” she said, “have led us to a much weaker U.S. economy, and of course that has global implications.”
The forced government budget cuts that went into effect earlier this year – the so-called “sequester” – cut 1.5 percentage points of growth in the U.S., she told Amanpour.
Even the potential deal reached at the 11th hour on Wednesday just postpones once again negotiations over a long-term solution.
“We have enhanced volatility now, and I think that stays with us, because we don’t have a deal,” she said. “We’ve kicked the can forward, and set up a process with a deadline to try to get a deal.”