President Obama still demands “a clean debt limit increase,” his spokesman said, but the White House left the door open to accepting the three-month increase to the debt ceiling proposed by House Republicans.
“The President has made clear that Congress has only two options: pay the bills they have racked up, or fail to do so and put our nation into default,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. “We are encouraged that there are signs that Congressional Republicans may back off their insistence on holding our economy hostage to extract drastic cuts in Medicare, education and programs middle class families depend on. Congress must pay its bills and pass a clean debt limit increase without further delay. And as he has said, the President remains committed to further reducing the deficit in a balanced way.”
Carney yesterday refused to say how much new debt Obama wanted Congress to authorize, beyond saying that a one-month debt ceiling increase would not be acceptable.
“The point is [raise it] without drama and delay,” Carney told reporters. “A monthly extension is drama, okay? Congress should simply do its job.”
House Republican leadership unveiled the plan after a conference retreat in Williamsburg, Va., this week. “Next week, we will authorize a three-month temporary debt limit increase to give the Senate and House time to pass a budget,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in a statement today. “If the Senate or House fails to pass a budget in that time, members of Congress will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job. No budget, no pay.”