The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 10, 2013

Boehner offering Obama short-term debt extension

Republican plan would require Obama to begin talks on spending, keep shutdown in pla

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing a fresh deadline, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that Republicans would vote to extend the government's ability to borrow money for six weeks — but only if President Barack Obama first agrees to fresh negotiations on spending cuts. Under the Republican plan, the partial government shutdown would continue.

Obama has insisted the debt ceiling must be raised — heading off the possibility of an unprecedented national default — and the shutdown ended, with no conditions.

"I would hope the president would look at this as an opportunity and a good faith effort on our part to move halfway, halfway to what he's demanded, in order to have these conversations begin," Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters after presenting the plan to rank-and-file GOP lawmakers.

Boehner produced the proposal as the shutdown entered its 10th day. More ominously, the administration has warned that unless the federal debt ceiling is raised, the government will deplete its ability to borrow money by next Thursday, an event officials have warned could trigger a financial default that could wound the world economy as well as America's .

After weeks of decline, financial market indexes shot higher in anticipation of a possible deal that could avert a default. Both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index were up more than 1 percent in midday trading.

Boehner planned to present the offer to Obama later Thursday when he and other House GOP leaders were to meet with the president at the White House.

A White House official said Obama would be willing to negotiate over the budget "once Republicans in Congress act to remove the threat of default and end this harmful government shutdown."

Obama has steadfastly insisted that Congress reopen the government and extend the debt limit without conditions. His acceptance of the GOP proposal could mean a brief resolution to the fight over the debt limit and a continuation of the shutdown while negotiations proceed.

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