The White House indicated Monday for the first time that it would be open to a short-term increase to the nation’s borrowing limit, allowing the federal government to avoid a possible default on its obligations that could plunge the nation into another recession.
Senate Democrats expect to bring a longer-term fix to the floor for a vote later this week. It would raise the debt ceiling for months, perhaps until after the November 2014 elections. House Republicans said they could consider a stopgap measure if it were part of a larger deal.
“If the White House is open to a short-term debt limit increase with accompanying spending cuts and reforms, that is a positive sign,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.
Republicans and Democrats are still deadlocked on how to reopen the government, which partially shut down seven days ago. But with the number of federal employees on furlough shrinking to 400,000 or less out of more than 2 million, attention has quickly shifted to the looming debate over the debt ceiling.