In a meeting Thursday afternoon with House Republicans, President Obama rejected their latest offer to extend the debt ceiling for 6 weeks, allowing negotiations over a longer-term budget deal. Obama said he was open to a short-term extension of the debt ceiling for talks, but insisted that the government must also reopen first. The House GOP did not restore funding to end the partial government shutdown.
Both the White House and the House GOP, however, said progress was made during the talks. The talks are expected to resume Thursday night. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as scheduled an initial vote on his proposal to increase the debt ceiling through the end of 2014. Reid’s plan would push the debate on the debt ceiling until after the midterm elections. His plan also contains no spending cuts nor other policy reforms.
Obama’s position that the debt ceiling increase must also provide funds to end the partial government shutdown seems to be a reverse of his position that the debt ceiling shouldn’t have conditions attached. Obama and his allies have argued over the last week that the risk of default was too serious to involve talks on any other issues. Restoring government funding is certainly another issue.