Buffett: Failure to raise debt ceiling "asinine"

OMAHA, Nebraska Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:49pm EDT

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, holding an ice cream bar, is surrounded by press, shareholders and security as he wanders the company trade show before his company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska April 30, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, holding an ice cream bar, is surrounded by press, shareholders and security as he wanders the company trade show before his company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska April 30, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Warren Buffett said he expects the Congress to raise the nation's debt ceiling before it expires in mid-May, and said it would be that body's "most asinine act" ever if it failed.

Speaking on Saturday at Berkshire Hathaway's (BRKa.N) annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, Buffett said imposing a debt ceiling was a mistake in the first place.

Still, he projected that "the United States was not going to have a debt crisis of any kind as long as we keep issuing our notes in our own currency."

The Obama administration has expressed confidence that Congress will agree to raise the $14.3 trillion cap on how much Washington can borrow before it expires on May 16.

Raising the cap would let the government keep paying its bills. But many Republican lawmakers and some Democrats want any increase to be accompanied by a clear plan to cut spending.

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger attacked the political posturing and rhetoric that he believes Democrats and Republicans have used in the debate, saying both were competing to see "who can be the most stupid."

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz; Additional reporting and writing by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Toni Reinhold)