Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan on the current state of play

September 26, 2013
Rick Snyder, Governor, State of Michigan at theTechonomy conference held at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan on Monday, September 17, 2013. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg *** Local Caption ***
Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.)  (Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg)

Republican governors have been mostly reluctant to weigh in on the budgetary standoff in Washington. On Thursday, Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) offered a gloomy assessment of the drama unfolding now in the capital and the consequences of a possible government shutdown.

“There’s something wrong with the culture here,” he said. “This is not how we should operate. It shouldn't be about people fighting and yelling.” Asked how to break through that culture, he said, “You walk into someone office who’s called you names for a long time and say, 'Let’s talk.' ”Snyder declined to take sides in assessing blame for the current standoff. But he wasn’t shy about talking about the impact of a potential government shutdown next week. “What I think is absolutely clear is that it would be a disaster for the federal government to shut down,” he said.

Snyder was sharply critical about the prospect of another confrontation over the debt ceiling, saying it’s long past time the two sides should have found a way to work out their differences.

Republicans are demanding that President Obama enter into negotiations over a variety of issues to win approval of an increase in the government’s borrowing authority. Obama said again Thursday that he will not negotiate.

Snyder was asked whether Obama is wrong to refuse to talk with GOP leaders on that issue. “I'm not going to blame either side. I’m saying if you look at the system, there’s something wrong with the culture. There’s nothing constructive to blame one side or the other in this exercise. That doesn’t advance any solution.”

He acknowledged that resistance among conservative Republicans to compromises with the administration complicate matters. “It is a challenging environment,” he said. “I wouldn't want to minimize those issues. That’s where you just hope people just keep on working the issues out. ... It may take more than just one meeting or two meetings, but isn’t that that how you solve problems?”

Dan Balz is Chief Correspondent at The Washington Post. He has served as the paper’s National Editor, Political Editor, White House correspondent and Southwest correspondent.
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