Shutdown Live-Blog: Obama Rejects GOP Debt Limit Offer

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 10 2013 6:32 PM

Shutdown Live-Blog: Obama Rejects GOP Debt Limit Offer

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Senate Democrats stand on the Senate steps during a news conference on the government shutdown at the U.S. Capitol, October 9, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Welcome to Day 10 of the government shutdown. Yesterday—like the eight days before it—came and went without a deal. It did, however, provide the first significant signs that key players on both sides of the debate are slowly inching toward common ground. An actual deal to reopen the government and/or prevent the nation from crashing into the debt ceiling is still far from certain at this point, but Thursday has brought with it a new sense of cautious optimism that a deal to temporarily allay fears of default could be hashed out by week's end.

John Dickerson, Dave Weigel, Matt Yglesias, and the rest of Slate will continue to bring you in-depth analysis from Washington. But below you'll find a running list of today's smaller developments, rumors, links, and theories floating around inside the Beltway and out of it.

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—A small sampling of Slate's more recent shutdown coverage—

6:32 Obama Rejects Republican Debt Limit Offer, via New York Times:

President Obama on Thursday rejected a proposal from politically besieged House Republican leaders to extend the nation’s borrowing authority for six weeks because it would not also reopen the government. Yet both parties saw it as the first break in Republicans’ brinkmanship and a step toward a fiscal truce.

4:01 p.m.: Harry Reid Weighs In, via National Journal:

Emerging from an almost-two hour meeting between the president and Democratic senators, Majority Leader Harry Reid had a very succinct answer when asked if there would be negotiations with Republicans as long... as the government shutdown continues—"Not going to happen."
Reid was flanked by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Charles Schumer of New York and Patty Murray as he talked to reporters outside the West Wing. "The government should be open.... If that happens, we'll negotiate on anything," said Reid. Asked to respond to a House Republican proposal for a short-term raising of the debt limit, Reid mocked what he called the House's "unique form of legislating -- It is hour by hour." He said he would have to "wait and see what the House does." But he left no doubt there will be no negotiations under the threat of a continued shutdown

3:28 p.m.: Is the House GOP Getting Ready to End the Shutdown? via Politico:

If Thursday night’s meeting with Obama goes well, senior Republican sources say that Boehner could have enough internal political capital to move a bill next week to reopen government until Nov. 22 — the end of the negotiating period. Boehner appeared to be right, as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said “The president is happy that cooler heads at least seem to be prevailing in the House.”
For Boehner, it’s a recognition of the political reality that he can’t engage in an increasingly long and grinding high-stakes government funding battle while also threatening the creditworthiness of the United States. The Ohio Republican wants to try to shift the onus to Obama and Democrats on these two explosive issues. Republicans say they are unlikely to keep government closed until Nov. 22 — the date the debt ceiling would be reached under the GOP plan.
“We can’t fight on two fronts,” Boehner (R-Ohio) told a closed morning meeting of House Republicans on Thursday. After the meeting, Boehner said “It’s time for these negotiations and these conversations to begin.”

2:55 p.m. Meanwhile in the Senate, via The Hill:

The Senate will vote Saturday on proceeding to a bill to raise the debt ceiling by $1 trillion. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday filed a motion to set up the vote, which would test whether he has the support to extend the debt ceiling through the end of 2014. ...
It's unclear whether Reid will have the votes. The measure would raise the debt ceiling but would not cut spending, and it could be difficult for Republicans to back a "clean" debt-ceiling hike. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Reid's bill "just won't fly" with Republicans. ...
The House also appears poised to vote on a shorter extension of the debt ceiling. House Republicans are discussing a six-week extension of the debt ceiling. It was not immediately clear if the House measure would be a "clean" hike. But if the House does move forward with that bill, it could allow Senate Republicans to demand a vote on that measure. 

1:15 p.m.: White House Says CR-Lacking Deal Isn't Enough to Talk Obamacare, Deficit, via the New York Times:

The White House indicated that while the president might sign a short-term bill to avert default, it rejected the proposal as insufficient to begin negotiations over his health care law or further long-term deficit reductions because the plan does not address the measure passed by the Senate to finance and reopen the government. "The president has made clear that he will not pay a ransom for Congress doing its job and paying our bills," said a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Though Mr. Obama indicated this week that he would sign a short-term extension in the nation’s borrowing authority, he is still pressing for a Democratic Senate proposal to extend the debt limit for a full year with no “extraneous political strings attached,” the official said. But without an agreement to also end the shutdown, the president will not negotiate on other issues, the official said.

1:10 p.m.: Obama Open to GOP Offer, via Politico:

President Obama is open to a proposal for a short-term increase in the debt ceiling, but still prefers a longer-term bill, the White House said Thursday. “The president is happy that cooler heads at least seem to be prevailing in the House,  that there at least seems to be a recognition that default is not an option," press secretary Jay Carney said. But, he added, “the president believes that it would be far better for the Congress, and in this case the House, to raise the debt ceiling for an extended period of time.”
Carney wouldn’t rule out the prospect that Obama would nonetheless sign a short-term extension, but reserved judgment until the White House gets a full proposal. “We have seen nothing, obviously no proposal, from House Republicans yet. There’s no bill to look at,” he said, and the details of a proposal that can pass the House are important.

12:02 p.m.: The Deal Won't Address the Shutdown, via TPM:

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced Thursday that the House will move forward with a six-week debt limit extension after pitching the idea to his Republican conference during a closed-door meeting. The plan would sustain the government shutdown -- now in its 10th day -- while temporarily averting a catastrophic debt default by authorizing continued borrowing through Nov. 22.
"We're going to offer legislation that will offer a temporary increase in the debt ceiling," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), the No. 4 House Republican, after the meeting. "That will allow us some time to continue this conversation." The legislation hasn't been finalized yet. It's expected to omit unrelated policy measures and may include language about negotiating a long-term solution, according to one source.

11:55 a.m.: Boehner's Offer Contains a Hard Deadline, via WaPo:

It would suspend the debt limit until Nov. 22, the Friday before Thanksgiving, while also forbidding Treasury Secretary Jack Lew from using “extraordinary measures” that his agency has used in recent years to extend his borrowing authority for weeks after the ceiling is reached, according to a senior GOP aide who was in the room. This creates a hard “X date”, as financial analysts call the issue, leaving no wiggle room beyond that day.

11::25 a.m.: White House Wants Longer Deal, but Doesn't Rule Out the GOP Offer, via White House statement:

“The President has made clear that he will not pay a ransom for Congress doing its job and paying our bills. It is better for economic certainty for Congress to take the threat of default off the table for as long as possible, which is why we support the Senate Democrats’ efforts to raise the debt limit for a year with no extraneous political strings attached. The President also believes that the Republican Leadership in the House should allow for an up or down vote on the clean continuing resolution passed by the Senate that would pass with a bipartisan majority to reopen the government.  Once Republicans in Congress act to remove the threat of default and end this harmful government shutdown, the President will be willing to negotiate on a broader budget agreement to create jobs, grow the economy, and put our fiscal house in order.  While we are willing to look at any proposal Congress puts forward to end these manufactured crises, we will not allow a faction of the Republicans in the House to hold the economy hostage to its extraneous and extreme political demands.  Congress needs to pass a clean debt limit increase and a funding bill to reopen the government.”

11:01 a.m.: Boehner's Offer, via Politico:

Speaker John Boehner pitched a six-week debt limit increase to House Republicans in a closed meeting on Thursday morning. He told his Republican colleagues they can't keep fighting on two fronts, referring to the government shutdown and looming debt ceiling deadline. The aim is to give Congress more time to cobble together a broader package that would fund government, lift the debt ceiling and find budgetary savings.

10:45 a.m.: Why the GOP Is Looking to Deal on the Debt Ceiling, but Not Necessarily the CR, via National Journal:

Few Democrats or Republicans believe the government shutdown will hand Democrats control of the House, but a default is different. GOP operatives warn it’s the kind of politics-changing event that would threaten even the most hardened of majorities. ...
The risk to Republicans hinges on two eventualities: The repercussions of a debt-limit crisis are severe, and Republicans receive most of the blame. On the former, there’s widespread agreement: Allowing the United States to default on its obligations would be catastrophic. The consequences would be far more disastrous than a government shutdown, which, while damaging, doesn’t threaten to send interest rates skyrocketing or 401(k) plans plummeting. ...
Whether Republicans would receive the bulk of the blame is not certain, of course, but it looks like a good bet. A spate of recent polls about the shutdown suggest that not only do more people blame the GOP than the Democrats for government dysfunction, they’re also growing increasingly frustrated with the party. The public’s approval of Obama’s role in the shutdown standoff has actually risen, from 41 percent to 45 percent, .... Meanwhile, in the October poll, 70 percent of adults said they disapprove of congressional Republicans’ conduct during the negotiations, including 51 percent who said they strongly disapprove. That’s a 7-point jump from the previous survey.

10:15 a.m.: Lew Keeps the Pressure On, via the Associated Press:

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned Congress Thursday of "irrevocable damage" that an unprecedented federal default could cause, even as House Republicans explored a short-term debt limit increase to provide more time to resolve their budget battle with President Barack Obama.
Lew testified before the Senate Finance Committee on the 10th day of a partial federal shutdown and one week before Lew has said the government will deplete its ability to borrow money. ... Lew warned that failure to renew the government's ability to borrow money "could be deeply damaging" to financial markets and threaten Americans' jobs and savings. It would also leave the government unsure of when it could make payments ranging from food aid to Medicare reimbursements to doctors, he said.

9:41 a.m.: Optimism on Wall Street, via USA Today:

Stocks surged Thursday as investors were encouraged by talk of a deal that may avert a U.S. government default. ...  House Republican leaders appear to be ready to advance a short-term debt limit increase that would prevent the first default on U.S. debt next week.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 150 points, or 1% at the opening bell. The Standard & Poors's 500 index gained 1% and the Nasdaq composite index surged 1.4%. All major U.S. averages have taken a beating this month as a partial shutdown of the U.S. government dragged on and the risk of a possible default on its debt increas

9:35 a.m.: Breathing Easy... For Six Weeks, via ABC News:

A House Republican leadership source says House GOP leaders are coalescing around a plan to provide a six-week extension of the debt limit – putting off the threat of default until early December and allowing time for negotiations on a broader budget agreement, ABC’s Jonathan Karl reports.
House Republican leaders will present this plan to the rank and file at a meeting of the entire House GOP conference this morning at 10am. This plan involves only raising the debt ceiling; it does not fund the government. Under this emerging plan, the government would remain shut down while negotiations proceed on a broader budget agreement. It is not clear how the White House will react. On one hand, the President said he would accept a short-term debt ceiling increase. On the other hand, he has said he would not negotiate until Republicans remove the threat of default and re-open the government.

9:17 a.m.: Politico's Jim VandeHei in a mini-Behind the Curtain column this morning:

BREATHE EASY! Never underestimate the capacity of Congress to screw things up but there are signs everywhere this shutdown showdown will soon end. Consider: 1) Obama is open to short-term debt limit increase. 2) Paul Ryan is shopping short-term spending bill and debt-limit increase in exchange for negotiations on broader deficit deal. All but the far, far right can embrace this. 3) Boehner, by taking a hard line, bought himself enough street credibility with the far, far right to survive a deal. 4) Mitch McConnell is finally getting off the sideline to help broker a short-term deal. 5) Business leaders going public about how nonsensical nature of the GOP strategy, which should help nudge all but the far, far, far right House lawmakers.

9:03 a.m.: Signs of Progress Toward a Debt-Ceiling Deal, via the Wall Street Journal:

The partisan logjam that has paralyzed the capital showed signs of easing Wednesday, as conservative Republicans warmed to the idea of a short-term increase in the country's borrowing limit and House GOP leaders prepared for their first meeting with President Barack Obama since the government shutdown began.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, outlined a plan Wednesday to fellow conservatives to extend the nation's borrowing limit for four to six weeks, paired with a framework for broader deficit-reduction talks, according to lawmakers briefed on the proposal. The greater the spending reduction the talks produced, the longer the next extension of the debt ceiling would be under Mr. Ryan's plan. ... Mr. Ryan's proposal for a short-term debt-limit increase drew broad support from conservatives at the Capitol Hill meeting, according to lawmakers who attended. Republicans leaving the closed-door session expressed support for a short-term measure even if it doesn't address the 2010 health-care law. ...
Solving an immediate impasse over the debt ceiling wouldn't necessarily resolve the spending fight that has closed the government. Many of the same conservatives who backed a short-term extension of the country's borrowing authority said they are willing to keep parts of the government shuttered in order to keep fighting over the health law.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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