Not lifting U.S. debt ceiling would be 'dumb': Buffett

NEW YORK Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:37am EDT

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett pauses during a bridge game in Omaha May 5, 2013 the day after the company's annual meeting. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett pauses during a bridge game in Omaha May 5, 2013 the day after the company's annual meeting.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said that politicians not lifting the U.S. debt ceiling would be "pretty damn dumb" and viewed a prolonged political standoff on the issue as "disturbing."

"The market is not going to fall apart," Buffett said in an interview aired on CNBC on Friday, because markets will only expect politicians to act irrationally for a certain length of time.

Still, he called the possibility of such a debt standoff "disturbing."

Some Republican legislators are calling for concessions such defunding President Barack Obama's signature health care law in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc owns more than 80 businesses in such areas as insurance, chemicals, railroads and clothing, and has well more than $130 billion of equity and fixed income investments.

U.S. politicians look headed for a prolonged squabble over raising the U.S. debt ceiling to allow the government to keep borrowing money to pay its bills. That decision is expected to come to a head later this year.

A similar impasse in 2011 cost the United States its triple-A credit rating from Standard and Poor's.

(Reporting by Luciana Lopez Editing by W Simon)

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