President Barack Obama would sign a short term debt ceiling increase as long as the measure contains no conservative-backed provisions, a White House official said late Wednesday.
The official was speaking after a meeting between House Democrats and the president at the White House. A Democratic lawmaker present for the session said Obama signaled more "give" to the idea of a six-week increase of the nation's borrowing limit.
The White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, went further, saying Obama would sign a short-term deal.
"Our point has always been that Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling, no strings attached," the official said. "We prefer and support a longer-term solution, because the whole point is to remove the threat of default. But if Congress passes a clean extension, the president will sign it."
Obama and House Republicans have been locked in disagreement over two concurrent fiscal matters: funding the federal government, which is currently in a partial shutdown, and raising the debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department says will be breached on Oct. 17.
A possible deal appeared to emerge midweek, and sources have told CNN that House GOP leaders are preparing a proposal to raise the debt ceiling temporarily while keeping the government shut down. The specifics of that measure could be unveiled as early as Thursday.
The president, during a press conference on Tuesday, said he would be open to signing a short-term debt ceiling increase as long as Republicans don't include other provisions in the bill.
The White House official reiterated that stance.
"Here's what matters: whether it's short term, medium term or long term, the president's position will remain the same -- no ransom in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. Not this time, not next time, not any time while he's in office," the official said.