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Boehner offers debt extension; WH says likely OK

WASHINGTON — Facing a fresh deadline, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that Republicans would vote to extend the government’s ability to borrow money for six weeks — but only if President Barack Obama first agrees to fresh negotiations on spending cuts. Under the Republican plan, the partial government shutdown would continue in the meantime.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Obama “would likely sign” a clean bill increasing the debt cap but that the president also wants Republicans to reopen the government. He did not rule out Obama agreeing to Boehner’s debt ceiling proposal if the government remains closed, but the White House made no promises that Obama would hold negotiations under those circumstances.

“He will not pay ransom in exchange for the Republicans in the House doing their job,” Carney said.

Obama is to meet with Boehner and other House GOP leaders at the White House Thursday afternoon.

After weeks of decline, financial market indexes shot higher in anticipation of a possible deal that could avert a federal financial default. Both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index were up well over 1 percent in afternoon trading.