President Barack Obama rejected a Republican plan that would postpone a possible U.S. default because it would not also reopen the federal government, the New York Times reported on Thursday. The report came after a group of House Republican leaders met with Obama at the White House.
However, U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader Eric Cantor called the budget meeting with Obama "very useful," and said "talks will continue tonight." "Hopefully, we will have a clearer path forward," Cantor, flanked by fellow House Republican leaders, told reporters on his return to the Capitol from the White House.
Republicans in the House of Representatives offered a plan on Thursday that would postpone a possible U.S. default, signaling new willingness to end a standoff that has shuttered large parts of the government and thrown America's future creditworthiness into question. House Republican leaders floated a measure to extend the government's borrowing authority for several weeks that appeared to be free of the restrictions on healthcare and spending that prompted the crisis. Their plan would not reopen the government, as Obama has insisted, but the White House said it would consider the offer. For the first time since the government shutdown began 10 days ago, senior lawmakers from both parties predicted they would be able to resolve their differences in a way that would allow both sides to claim victory. Outside conservative groups like Heritage Action and the Club for Growth, who have pressed Republicans to resist compromise, said they would not punish those who voted for the new plan. "It's all going to work out," said Republican Representative John Mica of Florida. Investors seemed to be heartened by the developments. U.S. stocks indexes closed up 2 percent on Thursday. The dollar hit a 2-week high against major currencies and benchmark crude oil had its biggest gain in 6 weeks. The proposal is a significant shift for Republicans, who had hoped to use the disruption to undermine Obama's signature healthcare law and win further spending cuts. Those goals remain, but the Republican offer would at least push off the threat of default from October 17 until possibly the middle or end of November. One potential complication: the plan would prevent the Treasury Department from shifting funds around to postpone the day of reckoning further. 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," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. 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 skeptical of Boehner's plan. 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. REBELLIOUS MEMBERS Boehner has taken pains to show his party's most rebellious members that he listens to their concerns. He took a different approach on Thursday, said those in the room. "He put his best Coach Boehner voice and demeanor on and said, 'Guys, this is what we are going to do. The play has been called. I'm happy to answer questions,'" said Republican Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma. Other Republicans left the meeting grim-faced and refused to speak with reporters. The Obama administration says it will be unable to pay all of its bills if Congress does not raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling by October 17. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said he would be unable to prioritize some payments over others among the 30 million transactions his department handles each week. "It would be chaos," Lew told the Senate Finance Committee. The Republican plan would