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4% economy possible with 'right election': Welch

If Republicans take the Senate, as expected in Tuesday's midterm election, the U.S. economy has the potential to grow much faster, former General Electric chief Jack Welch said Monday.

"If we can get the right election this time and get some regulation fear off the table ... there's a real chance to get to that 4 percent economy we need to get to escape velocity," Welch said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

The government's first look last Thursday at the gross domestic product for the third quarter showed a better-than-expected 3.5 percent expansion rate—decelerating from 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

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Welch also expressed optimism that a GOP Senate and House could craft energy and tax policies that President Barack Obama could get behind. "I think maybe we can have the parties come together."

But a GOP Senate and House would put the ball in the court of the Democrats and the president, said Welch, executive chairman of the management institute at Strayer University that bears his name. "If Republicans get the House and Senate, we'll see who the blocker is," he said, accusing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., of preventing legislation from coming up for votes.

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Roger Altman, deputy Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration, defended Democrats, but acknowledged there's plenty of blame for both parties for the gridlock in Washington. He said he hopes the next two years are different than the last two years, with bipartisan pro-growth agreements.

But if the GOP wins the Senate, Altman said, "Republicans will need an agenda. Nothing or obstruction won't be good enough." The founder of investment banking advisory firm Evercore Partners said Republicans have not put forth a comprehensive vision for any of the difficult issues facing the nation.


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