U.S. news outlets say congressional Republicans are considering a proposal to temporarily extend the government's borrowing authority in order to end a stalemate with President Barack Obama and avoid a potential default.
House Republicans are scheduled to discuss the issue early Thursday, hours before a small group will hold talks with Obama at the White House. The president invited all 232 House Republicans, but Speaker John Boehner is sending just 18 of his members, and only those with leadership posts.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will testify before a Senate committee Thursday about the need to raise the government's $16.7 trillion debt limit by October 17, the date the administration says it will run out of money to pay all of its bills, which would lead to a downgrading the U.S. credit rating and trigger another economic crisis.
The administration is pushing back against a growing number of Republicans who have expressed skepticism about those claims.
A standoff between Republicans and President Obama over his signature health care law has led to a partial shutdown of the federal government, now in its second week.
Republicans had originally sought to either defund or delay the law in exchange for funding the government and raising the debt ceiling, and Boehner has called on Obama to hold negotiations before letting the House vote.
But the president says he will not negotiate until Congress approves the issues without any conditions.
The partial shutdown has halted numerous government services, including death benefits to the families of U.S. service members killed in combat. The public backlash prompted the House to vote unanimously Wednesday to restore the benefits. The measure now goes to the Senate.
The Pentagon has reached an agreement with a private charity to pay the benefits until funding is restored.
Countries Holding US Debt