House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday offered a deal to increase the debt ceiling until Nov. 22, without reopening the government, in exchange for negotiations with President Barack Obama on spending cuts and tax reform.
As part of the deal, the Treasury Department would be permanently barred from using extraordinary measures to avoid default, The Wall Street Journal reported.
White House spokesman Jay Carney signaled at a press conference that the administration was open to the short-term increase and left open the possibility the president would sign legislation that would raise the debt limit but not reopen the government. “If a clean debt-limit bill is passed he would likely sign it,” Carney said.
There was no indication of whether Obama would accept the conditions on the Treasury.
Boehner said during a Thursday morning briefing that “the president is fond of saying that no one gets everything they want in a negotiation. And frankly, I agree with that. Nobody gets everything they want … What we want to do is to offer the president today the ability to move a temporary increase in the debt ceiling, an agreement to go to conference on the budget, for his willingness to sit down and discuss with us a way forward to reopen the government, and to start to deal with America’s pressing problems.”
News of a possible breakthrough caused the Dow to surge more than 240 points at midday, with all three major indexes closing more than 2% higher.
But Jason Furman, the administration’s top economic advisor, questioned at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Center for American Progress why Boehner would push ahead with a plan to raise the debt ceiling but not open the government, stating the administration had yet to see any legislation from the GOP.
In comments before the Senate Finance Committee the same day, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that “No Congress in 224 years of American history has allowed our country to default, and it is my sincere hope that this Congress will not be the first.”
Lew told lawmakers that Congress should pass legislation that includes both raising the debt limit and funding the government to “end the standoff.”