Republicans consider short-term US debt ceiling increase
Friday, 11 October 2013 00:00
Reuters: US House of Representatives Republicans are considering signing on to a short-term increase in the government’s borrowing authority to buy time for negotiations on broader policy measures, according to a Republican leadership aide.
How long the increase might suffice – a few weeks or a few months – was unclear. But agreement by Republicans and Democrats to raise the debt ceiling would at least stave off a possible default after October 17, when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has determined the government will no longer be able to borrow.
President Barack Obama has said he would accept a debt ceiling increase of limited duration as long as no strings were attached, except perhaps a non-binding agreement to discuss policy issues.
It was unclear Wednesday night how far Republicans might be prepared to go to meet Obama’s conditions. Republicans in the House have been demanding a variety of conditions – including changes to Obama’s healthcare law – in return for cooperating on the debt ceiling and on a funding measure that might reopen the Government, which has been partially shut down since October 1.
In recent days, however, Republican emphasis has shifted more toward deficit reduction measures and less to Obamacare, the health care law.
Republicans in particular and Congress in general have taken a public beating in the showdown, with an Associated Press-Gfk survey on Wednesday showing Congress as a whole at a rock-bottom 5% approval rating. More than six of every 10 Americans blamed Republicans for the impasse.
With pressure rising and no clear path forward for breaking their fiscal impasse, Obama launched a series of White House meetings with lawmakers on Wednesday to search for a way to end a government shutdown and raise the debt limit.