WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans have been floating broad hints today that they might be willing to pass short-term legislation re-opening the government and averting a default. In exchange, they'd want immediate talks with the Obama administration on reducing deficits and changing the health care law.
And at the White House this afternoon, President Barack Obama said he's "absolutely willing" to talk with "reasonable Republicans" about those issues -- but only after the shutdown is ended and the threat of a default is averted.
The events unfolded with the partial government shutdown in its eighth day, and with a deadline for Congress to act on raising the debt limit just nine days away.
Some Republicans have downplayed the significance of that deadline -- saying the government would still be able to pay China and other holders of U.S. debt. But Obama says those Republicans are badly misguided -- and that default would harm the economy, cause retirement accounts to shrivel and reduce the value of homes.
Republican congressman Tom Cole said he believes there can be "a mechanism to raise the debt ceiling while a negotiation is underway."
And Speaker John Boehner told reporters that he just wants to "have a conversation" without "drawing lines in the sand."