Buffett Says U.S. Must Come to Grips With Three-Party Government

He says Republicans have split in two, creating third party

New factions are creating a "quiet revolution" in government

By Noah Buhayar, Claire Boston and Christie Boyden, Bloomberg Politics, 13 Oct. 2015.

Warren Buffett said a split among Republicans has effectively added another political party to the government, exacerbating the discord in Congress.

“That’s something we really haven’t come to grips with,” Buffett said at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington on Tuesday. “We have been set up for two-party government, and we don’t know how to deal yet with three-party government.”

House Republicans are struggling to select a new leader amid pressure to extend the government’s authority to borrow money. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has said that by Nov. 5 he’ll no longer be able to employ extraordinary measures to pay government bills.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, announced last month that he plans to step down after facing opposition from the party’s conservative wing, including some legislators who are demanding more focus on limiting funds for organizations that perform abortions. His No. 2, Kevin McCarthy, withdrew from consideration. Representative Paul Ryan has so-far resisted pleas for him to take the job.

“To imagine that you can’t find anyone who wants to be speaker of the House is just startling,” Buffett said. “You’re witnessing sort of a quiet revolution in terms of how America will be governed. We may go back to the old system. We may find a way that we can get it back to two parties, but it’s not a two-party system now.”

‘Never Been Greater’

Buffett, whose father was a Republican congressman from Nebraska, also reiterated his support for former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. The billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has donated to her campaign and a political action committee that supports her.

He said she could have better handled disclosures about her use of a private e-mail server while she was at the State Department, but still is the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic Party nomination and the general election.

He also took a jab at Donald Trump, who is leading polls for the Republican nomination, and has rallied supporters with the slogan, “Make America Great Again!”

“Make America great again?” Buffett said. “America’s great now.”

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