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Republican: Debt ceiling increase could come amid negotiations

Tuesday - 10/8/2013, 4:40pm  ET

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 (BAY'-nur) told reporters that he just wants to "have a conversation" without "drawing lines in the sand."

%@AP Links

209-a-11-(President Barack Obama, at news conference)-"the American people"-President Obama says he's willing to speak with House Speaker John Boehner and anybody else about anything -- with one condition. (8 Oct 2013)

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211-a-09-(President Barack Obama, at news conference)-"in the budget"-President Obama says it's time to vote on ending the shutdown. (8 Oct 2013)

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167-a-06-(House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, with reporters)-"resolve our differences"-House Speaker John Boehner says it's time for the president to negotiate before the economy is put at greater risk. ((this cut contains the "lines in the sand" quote) (8 Oct 2013)

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168-a-07-(House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, with reporters)-"never, not once"-House Speaker John Boehner says he just wants the president to come to the negotiating table to discuss the debt ceiling. (8 Oct 2013)

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GRAPHICSBANK: Barack Obama, as US President, gestures during news conference about the budget and partial government shutdown, White House Press Room, Washington, DC, over presidential seal, partial graphic (8 Oct 2013)

APPHOTO WHCD111: President Barack Obama speaks about the the budget and the partial government shutdown, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in the Brady Press Room of the White House in Washington. The president said he told House Speaker John Boehner he's willing to negotiate with Republicans on their priorities, but not under the threat of "economic chaos." (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (8 Oct 2013)

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APPHOTO DCEV125: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. walks to the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, after leaving a Republican policy luncheon. House Republicans floated broad hints Tuesday they might be willing to pass short-term legislation re-opening the government and averting a default in exchange for immediate talks with the Obama administration on reducing deficits and changing the three-year-old health care law. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) (8 Oct 2013)

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