US Republicans seek short-term debt extension

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US President Barack Obama has met with Republican leaders from the US House of Representatives to discuss a possible deal that would avert the US defaulting on its debt, with both sides saying that while progress had been made, no decisions were forthcoming.
House Republicans have offered a six-week increase in the debt limit. Details on the offer were not immediately available.
Speaker John Boehner and other leading Republicans had no comment after leaving a Thursday White House meeting with President Barack Obama. But the White House says while no specific decisions were made, the president "looks forward to making continued progress with members on both sides of the aisle."
Earlier, spokesman Jay Carney said the president is encouraged that, in Carney\’s words, "cooler heads seem to be prevailing in the House."
But Carney said the president would likely agree to a short-term debt ceiling deal only if no other conditions are attached to it.
The president has said letting the United States default on its debts would be a catastrophe for the global economy.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is still waiting to see what the Republicans are offering. 
On the other major issue hovering over Washington, the U.S. government shutdown, Reid said again Thursday there will be no negotiations with Republicans until the government is reopened.
He said the government shutdown, about to enter its 11th day, is causing pain and suffering across the country. 
House Speaker Boehner has insisted on linking negotiations on spending cuts to any bill raising the debt ceiling. He also has demanded talks on the president\’s health care program before letting the House vote on reopening the government. 
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told a Senate panel that it would be a "grave mistake" to fail to increase the debt ceiling by the October 17 deadline. He said the Treasury would then only have about $30 billion on hand and some incoming revenue, but not enough to pay all its bills.
Lew said the government should not have to choose between paying government bond holders or paying pensions and health benefits owed to older Americans. 
Source: Agencies

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