This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Budget Fight 'Got Close to Edge,' Treasury Secretary Says

By Darlene Superville

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says the just-resolved budget fight was "a little bit scary" because it "got close to the edge," and the lesson has to be that U.S. won't be put in that position again.

"It can't happen again," said the Obama administration's chief spokesman on the economy.

An impasse between President Barack Obama and a group of Republicans over spending for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 led to a 16-day, partial government shutdown and the furlough of hundreds of thousands of civil servants.

Lawmakers also pushed the country to the edge of economic default by threatening the Treasury Department's authority to continue borrowing the money needed to pay the nation's bills.

The situation was resolved last Wednesday when Congress agreed to finance the government through Jan. 15 and allow Treasury to continue borrowing through Feb. 7.

A group of House and Senate lawmakers has until Dec. 13 to produce a spending deal to stave off another shutdown and possible default in early 2014.

During the period of economic uncertainty spawned by the shutdown and the default threat, Lew said the nation's borrowing costs increased and economic activity was affected. He offered no dollar figures during an interview with NBC's Meet the Press that was taped Friday and broadcast Sunday.

"The direction is that it took an economy that is fighting hard to get good economic growth going, to create jobs for the American people, and it took it in the wrong direction," Lew said of the budget fight. "Our job is to move things in the right direction. This one was a little bit scary because it got so close to the edge."

He said he now looks to Republican leaders who have said publicly that the shutdown was the wrong strategy for the party to pursue.

"I think the message that we have to send going forward is that there was a turning point on Wednesday night and this won't happen again," Lew said. "It can't happen again."

Lew also commented on negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, saying it was premature for any talk of softening stiff economic penalties.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,912.11 -70.48 -0.42%
S&P 500 1,969.95 -8.96 -0.45%
NASDAQ 4,442.6980 -2.2110 -0.05%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs