The White House on Thursday signaled an openness to a Republican proposal for a short-term increase in the government's debt ceiling but said the president would not sit down to negotiate a broader budget deal until Republican lawmakers also reopened the government.
Republican leaders on Thursday floated a plan that would increase the debt ceiling for six weeks in exchange for future negotiations on the budget — but it would not reopen a government that is in the 10th day of a shutdown.
The White House did not say it would block a short-term increase in the debt ceiling, but it called on Republicans to pass a bill to keep the government funded.
“While we are willing to look at any proposal Congress puts forward to end these manufactured crises, we will not allow a faction of the Republicans in the House to hold the economy hostage to its extraneous and extreme political demands,” a White House official said. “ Congress needs to pass a clean debt limit increase and a funding bill to reopen the government.”
Obama will host Republican lawmakers at the White House Thursday afternoon to talk about a path forward in the fiscal clashes.
Republican leaders are hoping the push for a clean debt-limit extension — one that demands no concessions in exchange for the increase — will bring the White House to the negotiating table, even if the measure is short term.
The White House still favors a one-year increase in the debt ceiling but signaled a willingness to increase the nation's borrowing limit for a shorter period. If Congress doesn't increase the borrowing limit by Oct. 17, the government could default on its financial obligations, something that could throw world markets and the U.S. economy into turmoil.
“It is better for economic certainty for Congress to take the threat of default off the table for as long as possible, which is why we support the Senate Democrats’ efforts to raise the debt limit for a year with no extraneous political strings attached,” the White House official added. “The president also believes that the Republican leadership in the House should allow for an up or down vote on the clean continuing resolution passed by the Senate that would pass with a bipartisan majority to reopen the government.”