WASHINGTON — After weeks of gridlock, House Republicans floated broad hints Tuesday they might be willing to pass short-term legislation re-opening the government and averting a default in exchange for immediate talks with the Obama administration on reducing deficits and changing the three-year-old health care law.
At the White House a few hours later, President Barack Obama said he was “absolutely willing” to hold talks on those terms. “If reasonable Republicans want to talk about any of these things again, I’m ready to head up to the Hill and try,” he added.
The events unfolded as the stock market sank for the second day in a row. And in the latest in a string of dire global warnings, the International Monetary Fund said failure to raise America’s $16.7 trillion borrowing limit later this month could lead to a government default that might disrupt worldwide financial markets, raise interest rates and push the U.S economy back into recession.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has said the deadline for Congress to act is Oct., 17, setting that as the day the government will exhaust its ability to borrow funds and will have to rely day-to-day on tax and other receipts to pay its bills.