White House: Obama wouldn't block GOP debt bill

FILE - In this July 7, 2011 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner, of Ohio, listens at left as President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with Congressional leadership to discuss the debt in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. In the heated talk about deep spending cuts that will dominate Congress in the coming weeks, one thing is likely to be in short supply: details. The reason is simple. Americans embrace the general, abstract idea of reducing federal spending. Their support quickly fades, however, when specific programs are targeted. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

FILE - In this July 7, 2011 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner, of Ohio, listens at left as President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with Congressional leadership to discuss the debt in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. In the heated talk about deep spending cuts that will dominate Congress in the coming weeks, one thing is likely to be in short supply: details. The reason is simple. Americans embrace the general, abstract idea of reducing federal spending. Their support quickly fades, however, when specific programs are targeted. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says it won't oppose a House Republican proposal to increase the nation's $16.4 trillion borrowing authority for only three months, even though President Barack last week decried such short-term measures as harmful to the economy.

The White House Office of Management and Budget issued a statement Tuesday saying the GOP measure "introduces unnecessary complications, needlessly perpetuating uncertainty in the nation's fiscal system."

But it says the administration is encouraged because Republicans backed off their insistence of one dollar of spending cuts for every dollar of increase in the debt ceiling.

Without congressional action, the Treasury sometime in late February or early March will not have enough money to pay for all of its obligations, creating the possibility of a first-ever default on the government's debts.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The White House says a House Republican bill to extend the government's borrowing authority for three months still faces concerns in Congress but press secretary Jay Carney says that if it reaches President Barack Obama's desk, "he would not stand in the way of the bill becoming law."

The White House in the past has voiced reservations about a short-term debt ceiling extension. But on Tuesday, Carney said the three-month plan by House GOP leaders is significant because it "de-escalates the sense of conflict."

The government is on track to surpass its $16.4 trillion debt limit in late February or early March. Congressional Republicans had initially wanted to use a vote to extend the debt ceiling as leverage to win spending reductions, creating the threat of a first-ever government default.

Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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