Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Washington Beat: House GOP Floats Temporary Debt Ceiling Increase

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House Republicans met with President Barack Obama Thursday afternoon, hours after they unveiled a proposal that would keep the country from defaulting, but there's still no path to reopen the government. Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.

With the threat of default beginning to scare Washington lawmakers, House Republicans unveiled a plan Thursday that would lift the debt ceiling for six weeks but not reopen the government.

"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's demanded, in order to have these conversations begin," said House Speaker John Boehner.

The proposal, unveiled to rank-and-file Republicans during a closed-door meeting, wouldn't touch the Affordable Care Act, but it would demand that the president come to the bargaining table to hash out a long-term budget deal.

White House officials didn't dismiss the plan, but they did reiterate that the president won't negotiate until the shutdown comes to an end.

"If the Republicans think, or the Tea Party that is driving the Republican decision making up there thinks, that they can extract concessions by punishing the American people, by punishing the American economy in order to get what they want, the answer is no," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Republicans are hoping that the threat of default will push the president to give in. Under the Republican plan, the debt ceiling would be extended until November 22, right before Thanksgiving, a timeline that the GOP thinks would put pressure on all sides to reach an agreement on entitlement and tax reform.

Though many Republicans appear to be on board with the plan, there are some divisions.

"I'm concerned if we get into this stopgap type of measure, we're not focusing our energy and attention on really, what we should be focusing our attention on, in my opinion, are the bigger issues," said Rep. Tom Reed of Corning, N.Y.

Rank-and-file Democrats think leaving the government closed for business is a terrible idea.

"They're willing to extend the debt ceiling, but they're not willing to open up the government," said Rep. Steve Israel, whose district covers parts of Queens and Long Island. "So if you can extend the ceiling, why not open up the doors?"

For now, the standoff continues, but with a glimmer of hope that an end could be in sight. ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP