Republican House Republicans on Thursday offered President Obama and Senate far less than they want in the ongoing financial standoff, presenting a short-time hike of the debt limit. However, they said nothing of deal that would reopen the shuttered federal government.
President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats have previously refused to enter talks with Republicans until the work of the government is restored and the House stops using the $16.7 trillion debt limit as a lever to extract concessions.
As The Huffington Post reports, the debt ceiling is expected to be reached within next week, but the House bill would push the debt ceiling back to around Thanksgiving.
“What we want to do is offer the president today the ability to move a temporary increase in the debt ceiling, an agreement to go to conference on the budget, for his willingness to sit down and discuss with us a way forward to reopen the government, and start to deal with America’s pressing problems,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill.
“I would hope that the president will look at this as an opportunity and a good-faith effort on our part to move halfway, halfway to what he’s demanding in order to have these conversations,” he continued.
Reaction from the president’s administration did seem to be very positive, although press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that if a clean debt ceiling bill actually reaches the president’s desk, it will be signed.
Still, the press secretary has reiterated the White House’s position, saying that the administration would not cooperate and that doesn’t consider the debt ceiling being raised or the government being opened as any sort of concession, but as part of Congress’ job.
“Our position is clear: they ought to turn on the lights, they ought to pay our bills,” Carney said. “The logic here is that they would harm the American economy and the American people in order to try to extract concessions from the president and their counterparts on Capitol Hill. That’s an unsustainably bad proposition.”
Similarly, Senate Democrats did not seem impressed by the deal.
“Republicans may let one hostage go, but they are keeping a gun to the head of the other, while reserving the right to kidnap the first one again in a few weeks,” an aide to Senate leadership told HuffPost on background, because the House’s formal legislation has yet to be released.
Ahead of a meeting between two-dozen Republicans and the White House, one member of the GOP agreed that all the proposal does is essentially move the goal posts.
“We haven’t changed our position, only the timeline,” said Rep. John Fleming. “There won’t be a vote on a temporary extension of the debt limit unless the president agrees this afternoon to sit down and talk with us.”
The proposed plan is a significant shift for Republicans, who “had hoped to use the disruption to undermine Obama’s signature healthcare law and win further spending cuts,” Reuters writes.