Short-Term Debt Limit Increase Possible if Long-Term Deal Imminent

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed today that President Obama would sign a short-term increase in the debt ceiling if Congress agreed to pass a long-term, "significant" deficit reduction plan.  If a short-term increase was asked for, the White House maintains that the President would only agree to an extension of a "few days". Senate leaders from both political parties expressed skepticism earlier this week that proposals put forward by the "Gang of Six" would have enough time to be completely vetted, turned into legislative language, scored by the Congressional Budget Office, and voted on by the August 2nd deadline established by Treasury Secretary Geithner for avoiding default on current federal obligations.  The White House had also indicated that the President would be unwilling to consider any short-term fixes that might bring instability to markets. This short-term option, however, would allow Congressional leaders the opportunity to fashion a long-term deficit reduction plan in association with a larger increase in debt ceiling.  While the specifics of these plans have not been released, NRHA continues to encourage Congressional leaders and administration officials to take into account the needs of the rural health care safety net and rural economies when fashioning any deficit reduction plan.  To contact your Member of Congress and express your views on rural health care, please visit the NRHA homepage.  If you have any questions on these negotiations, please contact Maggie Elehwany or David Lee of NRHA Government Affairs at (202) 639-0550.