White House adviser plays down U.S. credit risk over shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Wednesday he did not see any risk of a credit downgrade for the United States amid the partial government shutdown because the country’s overall economy remained strong.

The shutdown adds uncertainty to the economic picture, Hassett, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told CNN in an interview.

Hassett also acknowledged the United States could end up with zero growth in the first quarter if the shutdown, which began Dec. 22, extended for the whole quarter.

But he said the Trump administration still predicts 3 percent growth this year and that it saw the chances of a recession in 2020 at very close to zero.

“I don’t think a downgrade is in play,” Hassett said. “I don’t think that there’s any risk at all, given how strong the economy is, that we will be downgraded.”

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Trott)