House Republicans suggested interest in a short-term debt limit increase today in a move that would temporarily prevent the United States from defaulting. Hooray! Of course this means nothing for the government shutdown, and now you can look forward to more pathetic debt-limit brinkmanship taking place right around the holidays. God kill us, everyone.
GOP aides said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is presenting a "clean" bill—free of any other policy conditions—that would increase the borrowing limit until Nov. 22 in order to allow time for broader negotiations on a debt-reduction strategy and separate fights over the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling. Aides later told CBS News that a vote could come as early as tomorrow, and that it would also bar the Treasury Department from using "extraordinary measures" to keep borrowing once they have reached the limit in order to put pressure on both sides to negotiate within the six-week time frame.
White House spokesperson Jay Carney said President Obama would likely sign the short-term increase, but he added, obviously, that the administration "strongly prefers a longer term resolution." The House Republicans are now sending a small group of negotiators to the White House this afternoon to try and strike a deal.
Asked in a brief press conference this morning if Republicans are willing to reopen the government if Obama refuses to delay or gut the Affordable Care Act, Boehner delivered his standard line: "If ands or buts were candy and nuts then every day would be Christmas." (Keep in mind that you may not be able to afford candy or nuts come Christmastime, because America will have defaulted and the economy will be in a horrific tailspin.)