House Republicans,looking for a way out of a budget standoff they began,are coalescing around a plan that would raise the debt limit through November 22,which they will present to President Obama at a meeting at the White House Thursday afternoon.
The White House indicated that while the president might sign a short-term bill to avert default,it rejected the proposal as insufficient to begin negotiations over his healthcare law or further long-term deficit reductions as the plan does not address the measure passed by the Senate to finance and reopen the government.
The president has made clear that he will not pay a ransom for Congress doing its job and paying our bills, said a White House official.
Though Obama indicated this week that he would sign a short-term extension in the nations borrowing authority,he is still pressing for a Democratic Senate proposal to extend the debt limit for a full year with no extraneous political strings attached,the official said. But without an agreement to also end the shutdown,the president will not negotiate on other issues,the official said.
While the back-and-forth dampened hopes of a quick truce,the maneuvering suggested that Congressional Republicans want to end a potentially calamitous standoff for which polls show they are getting more of the blame from the public.
Representative John Fleming,Republican of Louisiana,said the Republican leadership said it would not put the extension on the floor for a vote unless Obama agreed to sit down and negotiate with Republicans on a broader deal.
Economists across a broad spectrum agree that violating the debt limit which could happen as early as next week,absent Congressional action would probably severely damage the economy. The new Republican proposal could temporarily remove that threat.
Treasury Secretary Jacob J Lew implored Congress Thursday to raise the debt ceiling,warning Senate Finance Committee of potentially severe market and economic repercussions if it did not.
In testimony before the committee,Lew stressed the Treasury Department would run out of extraordinary measures to free up cash in a matter of days. At that point,the countrys bills might overwhelm its cash on hand in addition to any receipts from taxes or other sources.