(USA TODAY) -- President Obama would likely sign off on a three-month extension of
the debt ceiling but would prefer to see a longer-term deal, his
spokesman said Tuesday.
Obama "would not stand in the way" if a
House Republican proposal for a three-month extension is approved by
Congress and reaches his desk, spokesman Jay Carney said.
Treasury Department reports that the government is close to breaching
the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, which enables the government to borrow
money to pay its bills. Failure to raise the debt ceiling could lead to a
Treasury officials have not set a specific
deadline but said the nation will lose borrowing authority in
mid-February or early March.
Some Republicans have proposed
leveraging the debt ceiling to get more spending cuts from the Obama
administration; Obama has said he will not negotiate on the debt
ceiling, saying the nation is obligated to pay its bills.
A 2011 tangle nearly led to a government default and contributed to a downgrade in the nation's credit rating.
House leaders proposed a three-month extension at their retreat last week and plan to vote on it Wednesday.
said Obama has always supported a long-term debt extension "without
drama or delay." But he added that the three-month proposal could be
constructive because it "de-escalates the sense of conflict."