President Barack Obama challenged congressional Republicans to raise the U.S. debt limit by next week and said he’s willing to negotiate on fiscal terms once that is done and government funding is restored.
The president repeated that he won’t bargain while federal operations are partially shut down because of the budget standoff and won’t agree to any conditions placed on increasing the debt ceiling. He said Democrats already have compromised on spending levels.
“We’re not going to negotiate under the threat of economic catastrophe,” Obama said at the Washington headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where he met with some of the federal workers who are still on duty.
House Speaker John Boehner said yesterday the Republican-controlled chamber won’t pass an increase to the federal debt limit without concessions from Obama. The president has repeatedly rejected any negotiations on either the debt ceiling or funding government operations.
There were few signs of the stalemate breaking a week into a government shutdown and 10 days from when Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew says the U.S. will exhaust measures to avoid breaching the debt ceiling.
The administration has warned that breeching the debt ceiling would have catastrophic consequences for the economy that would ripple across the globe.
As the deadlock over funding the government and raising the debt limit drags on, stocks extended losses from last week with the MSCI All-Country World Index (SPA) sliding 0.4 percent to 382.12 at 11:59 p.m. in New York and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declining 0.4 percent.
One of Obama’s top economic advisers, Gene Sperling, earlier today indicated the White House might accept a short-term increase in the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt limit to allow talks to continue without a default.
While Obama will negotiate on budget details or to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, he “is not going to sanction negotiations with any faction that are using the threat of default as a way of extracting policy in our democracy,” Sperling, director of the president’s National Economic Council, said today at a breakfast sponsored by Politico.
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