US President Barack Obama Sunday spoke with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi over the phone about raising the government's borrowing authority without other conditions attached, or a "clean" debt ceiling increase, the White House said Sunday.
"The President and Leader Pelosi discussed the way forward on the pressing fiscal matters facing Congress today. They reinforced that there must be a clean debt limit increase that allows us to pay the bills we have incurred and avoid default," the White House said in a readout of the phone call.
The first US government shutdown in 17 years drags on into its 13th day. Moreover, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has told Congress that the federal government will reach its debt ceiling of $16.7 trillion by Oct. 17 and that failure to raise it would lead to a catastrophic default.
"The House needs to pass the clean continuing resolution to open up the government and end the shutdown that is hurting middle class families and businesses across the country," said the readout.
US House Republicans have floated an idea of a six-week debt ceiling increase to avert a debt default crisis and urged fiscal reforms to cut government budget deficits. But Obama wants a longer-term debt limit increase without other conditions attached.
"The President also thanked Leader Pelosi for her efforts to move forward with a clean CR and a one-year clean debt limit increase that would prevent a first-ever default of our nation's credit," noted the readout.
However, Senate Republicans on Saturday blocked a similar " clean" debt ceiling increase bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, to extend the government's borrowing authority through the end of 2014 without other conditions attached.