Buffett: Debt ceiling 'ought to be banned as a weapon,' calls lawmakers 'idiotic'

Warren Buffett on Friday called on lawmakers to quit using the debt ceiling as a negotiating tool, comparing it to nuclear bombs “too horrible to use.”

“It ought to be banned as a weapon,” he said on CNN’s fortune.com. “It should be like nuclear bombs, I mean, basically too horrible to use.”

The billionaire investor said some good may come from the current debate, asserting that the fight could get bad enough that lawmakers would cease to use it in negotiations. 

“I think there may be some good to come out of it,” he said. “This may be like after we dropped a couple of atomic bombs, we saw that we didn’t want to do it again."

In a separate interview Thursday, Buffett predicted lawmakers would run right up against the limit but come to a resolution before crossing it. 

Buffett has long argued against haggling over the debt limit. He said even the idea of a debt limit does not make sense, because it is in constant need of being raised. But because it is part of the law, he said, lawmakers should raise it without question. 

Buffett said both parties should admit that they have “sinned” in the past by using it and move on. 

“All the past behavior has been idiotic, and we won’t debate who has been more idiotic, but it is over,” he said. “And the only way to have it over is to probably have a showdown like this.”

The Treasury Department said the government would bump up against the $16.7 billion borrowing limit by Oct. 17. President Obama has vowed not to negotiate over the limit. But Republicans have called for deficit concessions. 

“Don’t tie it to breaking the promise of the United States government,” he said.