White House signals openness to short-term debt extension if tied to ‘larger deal’
President Obama would consider a short-term measure aimed at raising the nation’s debt ceiling and avoiding a default by Aug. 2 if Congress agrees to a larger, long-term deficit-reduction and debt-ceiling deal and needs “a few days” to finalize the legislation, his spokesman said Wednesday.
With time running out for reaching such a deal, Obama called House and Senate Democratic leaders to a White House meeting Wednesday as he sought to shore up his party’s support for a compromise deficit-reduction plan that could help break a political impasse over the debt limit and avert a U.S. default.
Later, Obama was scheduled to confer at the White House with the top two House Republicans: Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.).
Obama has steadfastly refused to entertain proposals to temporarily lift the debt limit during tense negotiations with congressional leaders over the past several weeks. But with less than two weeks remaining before economists say the government would risk defaulting on its obligations if the debt ceiling were not raised, the administration appeared to recognize the time constraints that could prevent a larger “grand bargain” from being enacted.