Updated at 10:05 through 6:53 pm EDT
President Barack Obama neither accepted nor rejected the House Republicans’ plan to increase the debt limit short-term and end the government shutdown as the two sides entered further talks tonight, Bloomberg’s Roxana Tiron, Richard Rubin and Chris Strohm report.
Both sides described talks at the What House as constructive. Obama told the Republicans that he wanted to end the shutdown and raise the debt limit, said Rep. Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican.
“He would like the shutdown stopped,” Rogers said. “We are trying to find out what it is he would insist upon” in a spending measure to end the shutdown.
The White House said in a statement that “no specific determination was made” after the 90-minute meeting with Republican leaders at the White House.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia called the meeting “constructive.”
“The talks will continue tonight and hopefully we will have a clearer way, path forward,” he told reporters at the Capitol afterward.
House Speaker John Boehner and other party leaders met with the president for more than an hour at the White House to discuss delaying the lapse in U.S. borrowing authority to Nov. 22 — pushed back from Oct. 17 — without attaching policy conditions. A House vote on the debt limit bill could occur as early as tomorrow.
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If it seems as if time has stood still in the nation’s Capitol, it has:
— Roll Call (@rollcall) October 10, 2013
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Obama “strongly prefers” a longer-term solution to the imminent need to raise the nation’s debt limit yet is open to seeing what the House’s Republicans are proposing with a short-term extension and what they are “able to pass,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said today.
Still, if a “clean” debt-limit extension for six weeks reached his desk, Carney said, “he would sign it.”
The president already has voiced willingness to consider a shorter-term solution, yet Carney was attempting to avoid committing to a plan the White House hadn’t seen yet — the House Republicans’ idea of advancing a six-week extension of the debt ceiling.
“The president is happy that cooler heads at least seem to be prevailing in the House, that there seems to be a recognition that default is not an option,” Carney said at the daily White House press briefing. It would be “far better” to raise the debt ceiling “for an extended period of time,” he said. “It would be far better for the economy if we stopped this episodic brinkmanship… But it is at least an encouraging sign.”
Noting that the White House hasn’t seen a bill yet, he said the House’s leaders appear not to be listening to “the debt deniers.”
“The president has always said he would sign a clean debt-limit increase,” he said, reiterating that Obama would prefer a longer-term extension. “If a clean debt-limit bill is passed, he would likely sign it.”
Yet, if they think they “can extract concessions,” he said, “the answer is no.”
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The Senate’s Democrats spent close to two hours at the White House after Carney addressed reporters about the House Republican proposal for a six-week debt-limit extension.
They, too, appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach to the plan.
“The House has a unique form of legislating — it’s hour by hour,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “Let’s wait and see what the House does.”
“We want the government open,” Reid told reporters. “We want to be able to pay our bills… They do not know what they want.”
He also reinforced what the White House is saying about negotiating budget terms in that debt extension: “Not going to happen.”
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The White House is not willing to negotiate over the terms of reopening the government or raising the debt ceiling, Carney reiterated today. The president’s “position is clear,” he said — the Republicans will have to “turn on the lights” and reopen the government before any budgetary issues are debated. Carney said:“He is not going to pay ransom to the Tea Party so that the government reopens or the government doesn’t default.”
The House’s Republican leaders are meeting with Obama later today. The White House will play host to the Senate’s Republicans tomorrow morning, Carney announced this afternoon.
Maybe we should do a drinking game for the WH press briefings-take a drink every time Carney says “ransom”
— Greta Van Susteren (@gretawire) October 10, 2013
The GOP rewrites its ransom note http://t.co/yZH77zn46O
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) October 10, 2013
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#Time4Solutions: The banner House Republicans are hanging today, as Speaker John Boehner advances the idea of a six-week extension of the nation’s debt limit.
Boehner says he is offering the White House the ability to advance a temporary increase in the debt ceiling and open talks about controlling spending and the deficit.
The Republicans are “moving half-way” to what the president has insisted upon, Boehner said following a meeting with his caucus this morning. “In order to deal with these pressing problems, we’ve got to sit down and have a conversation that leads to negotiations to solve this problem.”
“There is very little time left — we cannot waste any more time,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The offer of a short-term extension of the debt limit is intended to open a discussion about budgetary issues.
“We are 10 days into the government shutdown, and just today the president has invited the House Republicans to have a discussion about the way forward,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, chair of the House Republican conference, said after the caucus met today. “We are hopeful these will be fruitful negotiations.”
Asked what will happen if this proposal doesn’t work, the speaker fell back on a favorite saying: `If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.”
“To continue to talk about ifs and buts, as the speaker said, doesn’t get us anywhere,” Carney added later, insisting that the White House will have to see what House leaders are proposing and what they can pass.
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— Josh Barro (@jbarro) October 10, 2013
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As Republicans consider a short-term extension of the debt limit while budget talks continue in a partially shut-down government, pushing the Oct. 17 deadline for raising the U.S. debt ceiling is not a good idea, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says. Lew is urging lawmakers to come to terms well before the drop-dead date on the debt.
Lew warned today that the congressional deadlock over the debt ceiling is “beginning to stress the financial markets,” and failing to raise it by Oct. 17 could put Social Security and Medicare payments at risk, Bloomberg’s Kasia Klimasinska and Ian Katz report.
“Failing to raise the debt ceiling will impact everyday Americans beyond its impact on financial markets,” Lew told the Senate Finance Committee. Between Oct. 17 and Nov. 1, he said, the U.S. has “large payments to Medicare providers, Social Security beneficiaries, and veterans, as well as salaries for active-duty members of the military. A failure to raise the debt limit could put timely payment of all of these at risk.”
With the government partially shuttered since Oct. 1, Treasury will run out of measures to stay below the nation’s $16.7 trillion limit on borrowing beyond the 17thg. House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, so far has rejected President Barack Obama’s call to pass a debt ceiling increase without policy conditions.
In his prepared remarks, Lew cited rising yields on short-term Treasuries and measures of stock-market volatility as evidence investors are growing worried about the stalemate in Washington. Yields on Treasury bills maturing in the second half of October and early November have surpassed the peaks of similar maturities in July 2011, when Congress and the White House were debating a debt-limit increase, Lew said today.
“Trying to time a debt-limit increase to the last minute could be very dangerous,” Lew said. “If Congress does not act and the U.S. suddenly cannot pay its bills, the repercussions would be serious.”
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Treasury’s Lew to Senate panel: “Our systems were not designed to not pay our bills.” http://t.co/600v8UtUzl
— NYT Business (@nytimesbusiness) October 10, 2013
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warns against “very dangerous” brinkmanship over debt ceiling talks http://t.co/PSATMZ0alH
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 10, 2013
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How long can the shutdown go on?
It’s true. This is the saddest shutdown photo yet. pic.twitter.com/3oVcXInWv9
— Matt O’Brien (@ObsoleteDogma) October 10, 2013
This long, one wag suggests:
— Vince Coglianese (@TheDCVince) October 10, 2013
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House Republican leaders are proposing to raise the debt limit for six weeks without policy conditions, according to a congressional aide familiar with the details. House Speaker John Boehner was discussing this with his caucus privately this morning.
The move would lessen the risk of a U.S. default one week from a lapse in borrowing authority, Bloomberg’s Roxana Tiron, Richard Rubin and Phil Mattingly report. The proposal wouldn’t end the partial government shutdown, however, as Republicans try to shift the debate back to spending issues.
Under the plan, the Treasury Department wouldn’t be able to use so-called extraordinary measures to further extend borrowing authority, creating a hard six-week limit, according to two aides requesting anonymity to discuss the proposal.
The House could vote tomorrow or Saturday on the Republican plan to increase the debt ceiling without strings, Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida told reporters.
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Republicans have largely stopped talking about reining in the president’s health-care program, the demand that led to the government’s partial shutdown.
But Jim DeMint is still talking about it.
The former Republican senator from South Carolina and now president of The Heritage Foundation in Washington delivered a public letter to Obama today to “explain why conservatives have insisted” on making Obama-care “a point of contention.”
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) October 10, 2013
“Your Administration has already granted numerous waivers and exemptions during the three years since the law was passed,” DeMint writes to Obama. “Millions of union members received temporary waivers from the law’s costly benefit requirements. Big businesses have received a one-year delay from the onerous employer mandate—a delay your Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, struggled to defend in an interview earlier this week. And Members of Congress have obtained special treatment for themselves and their staffs—illegally—that allows them to continue to receive taxpayer-funded insurance subsidies.”
“At a time when so many Americans are suffering because of the rollout of this new law, I remain puzzled by your failure to acknowledge the faults caused by this unfair, unworkable, and unpopular measure. We believe the law should be fully repealed, but at minimum, both sides should agree not to fund the law for one year—a “time-out” that would halt the law’s most harmful effects before they start.”
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Hope springs eternal at Tea Party headquarters:
— Roll Call (@rollcall) October 10, 2013
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As House Republican leaders head to the White House later today for a meeting with the president, there’s a reason for Obama’s hard-line stance 10 days into a partial government shutdown and a week from a potential debt crisis.
Shortly before his re-election, he confided to John Podesta, an informal adviser, in a vow he was making for his second term: He would never again bargain with Republicans to extend the U.S. debt limit, Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning and Margaret Talev report.
The precedent, set in the agreement that ended a 2011 budget standoff, “sent a signal that this was fair game to blackmail over whether the country would default,” said Podesta, a onetime chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and co-chairman of Obama’s 2008 presidential transition, in an interview. “He feels like he has to end it and end it forever.” `
`The stand Obama has taken on the latest fight over the government shutdown and borrowing limit — refusing to tie policy conditions to raising the debt ceiling — is an attempt to repair some of the damage that he and his aides believe he sustained by making concessions to Republicans to avert a default two years ago, according to former top administration officials and advisers,” Dorning and Talev report.
“The resolution of the showdown with House Republicans will be critical to maintaining Obama’s capacity to wield his clout in Washington during the three years left in his presidency and protect the political initiatives of his first term, they say. The outcome will probably help determine his leverage to press for new priorities such as a revamp of immigration law, expanded access to pre-kindergarten education and infrastructure funding. It may also stave off attacks on his health-care law and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
If Obama makes concessions again to House Republicans over raising the $16.7 trillion debt limit, “he’ll be viewed as a guy who you can hold up,” says Podesta, chairman of the Center for American Progress, a research group with close ties to the administration.
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The president is having Republicans over to the White House at 4:35 pm EDT — not all the House’s Republicans, as he requested, but rather 18 leaders and committee chairmen whom Boehner will bring to the table.
The Senate’s Democratic leaders are heading there on their own after lunch today, the Republicans tomorrow.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew went to the Hill to testify this morning before the Senate Finance Committee on the implications of breaching the nation’s debt ceiling and then meeting with the president at the White House at noon. This, on the 10th day of the partially shuttered U.S. government, with seven days left to the ostensible deadline for averting a default on U.S. debt.
It’s time for the President to put partisan politics aside, sit down and start working with us. — Eric Cantor (@GOPLeader) October 9, 2013
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Lawmakers for the first time yesterday embraced one possible path out of the fiscal impasse, a short-term deal to avoid default, even as they remained far apart on how to make it happen, Bloomberg’s Roxana Tiron, Kathleen Hunter and Richard Rubin reported today.
“The sticking point remains clear: House Republicans prefer to attach policy conditions to a deal, and Senate Democrats are against them,” they report. “Any deal also would require finding a way forward that allows both sides to declare victory, though their differences make such a compromise difficult.”
Also, they must resolve their differences over ending the partial government shutdown, which only adds to the stakes as the standoff drags into its 10th day.
“We’re not going to vote against making sure that America pays its bills,” Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, said after leaving a meeting with Obama yesterday. “We think it ought to be longer-term.” Obama has already said he could accept a short-term deal without policy conditions.
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Among the visiting House delegation bound for the White House: A lawmaker hardly a team player in the caucus.
“That would be Rep. Steve Southerland, who made a minor national splash in mid-2011 when, while speaking with constituents in Florida’s Panhandle, he derided as “pathetic” House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership,” Bloomberg’s Don Frederick reports.
“That would be the same Boehner heading the 18-member GOP contingent convening with Obama at the White House as Washington struggles to end a government shutdown and avoid a debt default.”
Southerland, who turns 48 today, was first elected in the 2010 Republican wave that gave the party control of the House, Frederick notes here in Political Capital. His birthday celebration includes being part of the group sitting down with Obama because he serves as the class of ’10′s liaison to Boehner and the other top House Republican bigwigs — his “pathetic” comment notwithstanding.
A third-generation funeral director in a family-owned business before arriving in Congress, Southerland is the only one among today’s negotiating cadre who voted against the last-minute debt-ceiling increase that Congress passed as the threat of default loomed in August 2011.
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The operative word in this partial government shutdown that started Oct. 1: Partial.
“In some ways, the U.S. government began to reopen almost as soon as it shut down,” Bloomberg’s Brian Wingfield and Jim Snyder report.
Just before the appropriations ran out as the fiscal yearended Sept. 30, Congress passed a measure to keep paying uniformed military personnel and President Barack Obama signed it immediately. Days later, the Pentagon declared that the law permitted the recall about 90 percent of the 350,000 civilians it had furloughed.
Other agencies have also taken advantage of a law that allows them to retain workers necessary to protect life and property even when funding disappears. This week, the Federal Aviation Administration said it would recall about 800 of its 15,514 furloughed workers for inspection work. The Central Intelligence Agency brought back an undisclosed number involved in its “core missions,” and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called back 10 employees to confront a salmonella outbreak in California.
The Pentagon recall alone means about 40 percent of the 800,000 workers who were furloughed Oct. 1 have been called back to duty — bringing the shutdown toll to fewer than 500,000 people. The portion of the 2.74 million-person civilian workforce sent home fell to about 15 percent from 30 percent at the start of the shutdown.
“The government is clawing itself back” because agencies are finding that they need more workers than they originally deemed essential, says Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “That line between essential and non-essential has moved within the last week.”
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Three years from now, Federal Reserve forecasters expect the economy will still be struggling to overcome one of the biggest obstacles to growth: U.S. fiscal policy.
Most Fed officials last month predicted drag from fiscal restraint, a slow recovery in housing markets, and tight credit would cause them to hold the benchmark lending rate at 2 percent or lower until the end of 2016 to support growth and job creation, Bloomberg’s Craig Torres and Caroline Salas Gage report.
“It is harder to get to full employment when you are in fiscal chaos,” said Allen Sinai, chief executive officer at Decision Economics Inc. in New York. “They have to be easier longer. It makes them look like they are slaves to fiscal craziness.”
Policy makers’ interest-rate forecasts showed they were building long-term fiscal dysfunction into their outlook even before the partial federal government shutdown and impasse over raising the debt ceiling. Now, the wrangling in Washington is also pushing back the timeline for a reduction in bond purchases that would precede any increase in interest rates.
The shutdown has interrupted the flow of government data the Fed uses to evaluate the health of the economy, from factory orders to trade and unemployment. It also threatens to curtail economic growth after as many as 800,000 government workers were furloughed.
“The Fed is not going to taper while the government is shut down,” said Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Plc in New York. “One, there is a weight on the economy and, two, the Fed calls itself ‘data dependent’ and it’s hard to be data dependent when there’s no data coming out.”
New post: “If credit runs out, what bills will Treasury pay?” http://t.co/fMmCKJHseX
— USA tday (@mshusa) October 9, 2013