Obama Willing to Give Debt Deal More Time

Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:00pm

President Barack Obama would sign a short-term debt limit deal that lasted only a few days if lawmakers appeared close to a deal but couldn’t get it finished by Aug. 2, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday in a statement.

“The President does not support a short-term extension of the debt limit, period. The only exception to that is in the event that both sides reach a deal on a long-term extension of the debt limit plus significant deficit reduction, and we needed a very short-term extension (like a few days) to allow a bit of extra time for a bill to work its way through the legislative process,” Carney said in a statement.

Earlier, Carney created some confusion by seeming to indicate that the president might sign a bill that extended the debt limit for a month or more to allow time for more negotiation.

“We believe a short-term extension absent an agreement to a larger deal is unacceptable,” Carney said. “If both sides agree to something significant, we will support the measures needed to finalize details.”

The Treasury Department has said the United States will begin to default on its obligations Aug. 2 without a debt ceiling increase from Congress.