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Here's What DC Can Learn From Utah: Gov.

Wednesday, 16 Jan 2013 | 5:20 PM ET
Gov. Herbert Addresses Debt Ceiling Debate
CNBC's John Harwood reports members of both parties are coming up with their strategies on the debt ceiling; and Gov. Gary Herbert, (R-UT), explains how uncertainty over the debt ceiling is affecting Utah's efforts to balance the budget.

D.C. lawmakers can learn quite a bit from how Utah is run, Gary Herbert, the state's Republican governor, told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Wednesday.

"Washington should watch what we're doing in Utah because we're doing it right," Herbert said.

Utah currently has a balanced budget and zero debt on it's balance sheet. That's a stark contrast to the current national debt which tops $16 trillion. Another accolade for the state; Utah's unemployment rate sits far below the national average at 5.1 percent. The national average is currently 7.8 percent.

As Congress approaches the debt ceiling limit, Herbert had harsh criticism for lawmakers in D.C. calling the situation "unfortunate and disheartening."

So, what advice does the Utah governor have to get things on track? "We've got to do some drastic things. Everything including entitlements should be on the table. We can't solve the problem unless we reduce spending," he told CNBC.

The Republican governor disagrees with some members of his own party who say the debt ceiling debate should not be used as leverage to get President Obama to bend on spending cuts.

"He's not being realistic about where the spending is going," Herbert said. "The fact that we are spending doesn't mean we won't continue to provide services to people."

The governor also called the American people to action against the economic mess in Washington pushing them to "demand we quit nonsensical spending."

— By CNBC's Shannan Siemens. Follow her on Twitter @ShannanSiemens.

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  • With almost 30 years experience in business television, Bill Griffeth is co-anchor of the 3 p.m. ET hour of CNBC's "Closing Bell."

  • Kelly Evans

    Kelly Evans is an on-air correspondent, reporting across CNBC's business day programming. She is co-anchor of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."