President Barack Obama on Saturday came out against a proposal to extend for just weeks the country's authority to borrow money as crisis talks with Republicans entered the 12th day.
“It wouldn't be wise, as some suggest, to just kick the debt ceiling can down the road for a couple of months, and flirt with a first-ever intentional default right in the middle of the holiday shopping season,” Obama said in his weekly radio and video address.
Damage “to America's sterling credit rating wouldn't just cause global markets to go haywire; it would become more expensive for everyone in America to borrow money.”
One Republican idea that was floated to stave off a disastrous US debt default and end a partial government shutdown included a temporary extension to US borrowing authority - without which Washington could begin to default on its obligations for the first time in history after October 17.
The government, shuttered since October 1, will be fully reopened, possibly on an interim basis, and there will be some kind of commitment from both sides to work towards an elusive deal to tackle the deficit, rein in spending and possibly reform social programs and some aspects of the tax code.
The White House said earlier in the week that it would be open to a six-week extension of the debt ceiling after October 17.
But, perhaps sensing that it now has the upper hand in the fight, it now appears to be looking for an extension of borrowing authority from the current $16.7 trillion level for a longer duration.
On Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that a rise in the debt ceiling could not be linked to long-term fiscal talks with Republicans, because it could set up repeated threats of default in the coming months. - Sapa-AFP