The House Republican proposal for a short-term deal to increase the debt limit is "an encouraging sign," the White House said today, suggesting that President Obama would sign such a bill even if Congress fails to end the government shutdown.
The president "would likely sign" such an increase, even if Republicans do not pass a "clean" funding bill to reopen the government, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
But Carney would not directly answer whether the president would engage in broader budget negotiations, as Republicans are demanding, before the government is reopened.
"The president will not engage in budget negotiations with the Republicans until the government is reopened? Is that his position?" asked ABC News' Jonathan Karl.
"They ought to turn on the lights. They ought to pay our bills," Carney said, avoiding a clear response. "The fundamental question for Republicans is, why is the price of negotiations the president has been willing to engage in all year long doing harm to the American people and doing harm to the American economy and threatening the global economy? It's preposterous."
Carney added: "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," adding that "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."
"We have seen nothing, obviously, no proposal from House Republicans yet. There's no bill to look at," Carney stressed. "The president strongly prefers a longer-term resolution so that we can get away from this periodic brinksmanship."