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Obama 'Would Likely Sign' Short-Term Debt Limit Increase

File photo. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)(WASHINGTON) -- The White House on Thursday said the House Republican proposal for a short-term deal to increase the debt limit is “an encouraging sign,” and suggested President Obama would sign such a bill even if Congress does not act to end the government shutdown.

But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not directly answer whether the president would engage in broader budget negotiations, as Republicans are demanding, before the government is reopened.

“The president will not engage in budget negotiations with the Republicans until the government is reopened? Is that his position?” asked ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.

“They ought to turn on the lights. They ought to pay our bills,” Carney said, avoiding a clear response. “The fundamental question for Republicans is, why is the price of negotiations the president has been willing to engage in all year long doing harm to the American people and doing harm to the American economy and threatening the global economy? It's preposterous.”

Carney said the president “would likely sign” a short-term increase in the nation’s debt limit, even if Republicans do not pass a clean funding bill to reopen the government.

“The president is happy that cooler heads at least seem to be prevailing in the House, that there at least seems to be a recognition that default is not an option,” he said, adding that “the president believes that it would be far better for the Congress and, in this case, the House to raise the debt ceiling for an extended period of time.”

“We have seen nothing, obviously, no proposal from House Republicans yet, There’s no bill to look at,” Carney stressed. “The president strongly prefers a longer-term resolution so that we can get away from this periodic brinksmanship.”

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