Obama Rejects Key Part of Latest House GOP Proposal

Friday, 11 Oct 2013 07:27 PM

By Todd Beamon

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President Barack Obama on Friday rejected a critical part of the House Republicans' latest proposal to extend the federal debt ceiling, which linked a short-term increase to further negotiations on the budget, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

"It is our view that we cannot have a situation where the debt ceiling is extended as part of a budget negotiation process for only six weeks, which would put us right back in the same position that we're in now," Carney told reporters in a briefing at the White House.

"A proposal that puts a debt-ceiling increase at only six weeks, tied to budget negotiations, would put us right back where we are today in just six weeks, on the verge of Thanksgiving and the obviously important shopping season leading up to the holidays," he said. "And that would create enormous uncertainty for our economy."

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Small-business leaders told Obama in a separate meeting on Friday that the continuing threat of government default on its credit obligations as the holiday season neared "would be very damaging to them," Carney said. "And we don't think that's the right way to go."

He added: "What we think is not the right way to go is to try again to link extension of the debt ceiling to budget negotiations, and therefore link the possibility of default to whether one side gets what it wants in those negotiations."

Carney said that Obama welcomed a "new willingness" among House Republicans to open the government and avoid default.

"The proposal that House Republicans have put forward, he has some concerns with it," Carney said of Obama, without disclosing the details of the latest proposal from House GOP leaders. "The president's position is that the United States should not, and the American people cannot, pay a ransom in exchange for Congress doing its job.

"We cannot allow a situation where one party in one house uses the threat of default to extract concessions through budget negotiations," Carney said. "It is his position that we remove that gun from the table, extend the debt ceiling in a way that ensures that there is no suggestion or hint that default is an option."

Just minutes before the White House session, Obama and House Speaker John Boehner talked by telephone — and they both "agreed that we should all keep talking," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.

He released no additional details of their telephone call. Steel also did not yet respond to an email query from Newsmax on Carney's comments.

Obama has been meeting with House and Senate leaders from both parties since Wednesday to try to break the stalemate that has led to the partial shutdown of the federal government, now in its 11th day.

The president met with Boehner and other House GOP leaders on Thursday. Members of their staff continued to talk into the night after the session.

Obama met with Senate Republicans on Friday.

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"There have been constructive talks," Carney said. "In the case of the House Republicans in particular, there's an indication of a recognition that we need to remove default as a weapon in budget negotiations — that the threat of default should not be used and that default itself is never an option."

House Republicans are offering to pass legislation to avert a default and end the shutdown in exchange for cuts in benefit programs and some modifications to Obamacare.

The Washington Post and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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