House Republicans offer plan to postpone possible US default

Move signals new willingness to break ongoing standoff

Thu, Oct 10, 2013, 20:00

Republicans in the House of Representatives offered a plan today that would postpone a possible US default and urged US president Barack Obama to negotiate an end to the 10-day government shutdown.

The move signaled a new willingness by Republicans to break a standoff of their own making that has thrown America’s future creditworthiness into question.

The White House said it would consider the offer. The proposal is a significant shift for Republicans, who had hoped to use the disruption to extract concessions on spending and healthcare from Mr Obama.

Those goals remain, but the Republican offer would at least push off the threat of default from October 17th until possibly the middle or end of November.

The Republican offer would not reopen the swaths of the government that have been closed since October 1st.

Republican leaders said they would discuss the matter with Mr Obama at a White House meeting today. “It’s time for these negotiations and this conversation to begin,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters after presenting the plan to his fellow Republicans.

The White House cautiously welcomed the offer, but reiterated that Congress must first reopen the government before budget talks can begin.

“The president is happy that cooler heads at least seem to be prevailing in the House,” spokesman Jay Carney said.

Mr Carney also cautioned that the White House has yet to see details of the Republican proposal.

Many rank-and-file Republicans also appeared to be sceptical of Mr Boehner’s plan.

Mr Boehner’s grip over his troops has been tenuous this year and many of the chamber’s most conservative lawmakers have defied him repeatedly on other crucial votes.