CAPITOL HILL —
The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, says his Republican caucus has agreed to a short term extension of the federal debt ceiling, to avert a possible default next week. The political impasse has kept large parts of the U.S. government shut down for 10 days.
Before a White House meeting with Democrat President Barack Obama, Republican congressmen met at the U.S. Capitol.
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner emerged with an announcement that caused the U.S. stock market to surge even before he said it, as reports began to leak out from the meeting.
“So what we want to do is to offer the president today the ability to move, a “budget in exchange for his willingness to sit down and discuss with us a way forward to re-open the government and to start to deal with America’s pressing problems," said Boehner.
In a statement released just before Boehner’s remarks, the White House said the president is willing to look at any proposals to end what he termed “manufactured crises”, but would prefer a one-year extension with no political strings attached.
During the past two weeks, President Obama has repeatedly called on the Republican-led House to pass a measure to fund the entire federal government. Speaker Boehner has called for the president to sit down and negotiate with Republicans before the House takes action.
Boehner said this is a chance to move forward.
“And I would hope that the president would look at this as an opportunity and a good faith effort on our part to move halfway, halfway to what he has demanded in order to have these conversations begin," said Boehner.
It is not clear if the president will view the announcement as an effort by Republicans to move “halfway” or just away from the brink of default. After meeting with the president Wednesday, House Democrats, including their number two leader Steny Hoyer, made clear they would prefer a longer term extension of the debt ceiling.
“Democrats are prepared to make sure that the government pays its bills," said Hoyer. "But good policy, good economics and building confidence for the American people would be extending it for a substantial period of time so the markets will have the confidence of where we are going to be next week, next month and next year.”
Republican congressional aides said the proposal offered by Boehner would extend the debt ceiling until November 22nd, with no conditions attached.