White House rejects House debt plan: Official

The White House in Washington, DC on Oct 12, 2013. The White House on Tuesday rejected a new plan by Republican House leaders to avoid a disastrous debt default, branding it a "ransom" demand. -- PHOTO: AFP
The White House in Washington, DC on Oct 12, 2013. The White House on Tuesday rejected a new plan by Republican House leaders to avoid a disastrous debt default, branding it a "ransom" demand. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP, Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday rejected a new plan by Republican House leaders to avoid a disastrous debt default, branding it a "ransom" demand.

Ms Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman, said the plan was a "partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans who forced the government shutdown in the first place."

With time running out towards a Thursday deadline to avert a historic US debt default, House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Washington, proposed an alternative to a Senate plan that would affect President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

Spokeswoman Brundage said Mr Obama has vowed repeatedly that lawmakers “don’t get to demand ransom for fulfilling their basic responsibilities to pass a budget and pay the nation’s bills”.

“Unfortunately, the latest proposal from House Republicans does just that in a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans who forced the government shutdown in the first place,” she said.

Ms Brundage said Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have been working in a good-faith effort to end the fiscal stalemate and “it’s time for the House to do the same”.

US House Speaker John Boehner, however, said on Tuesday that no decisions had been made yet regarding House of Representatives legislation to reopen the government and raise the debt limit.

“There are a lot of opinions about what direction to go. There have been no decisions about what exactly we will do. But we’re going to continue to work with our members on both sides of the aisle, to try to make sure that there’s no issue of default and to get our government reopened,” Mr Boehner told a news conference after meeting with House Republicans.

“I have made clear for months and months that the idea of default is wrong and we shouldn’t get anywhere close to it.”