(Reuters) - House Republicans signaled on Thursday they might support a short-term extension of U.S. borrowing authority next month so they can move on to budget battles that could offer them more political leverage.
The move, described as under consideration by House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, appears to be aimed at getting President Barack Obama and his Democrats to start negotiating with them on spending cuts without Republicans being blamed for a debt default and any resulting chaos in financial markets.
"We're discussing the possible virtue of a short-term debt limit extension, so that we have a better chance of getting the Senate and White House involved in discussions in March," said Ryan.
The option, if successful, would put off a fight with Obama over a long-term debt ceiling increase until Republicans and the White House have negotiated their way through two other fiscal deadlines later in the spring.
It follows Obama's refusal to drawn into a negotiation over the debt ceiling. Republicans had hoped to use it as a lever to extract spending cuts from the White House.
Ryan, the party's failed candidate for vice president last year and a likely presidential contender in 2016, spoke to reporters during a retreat of Republican House members in Williamsburg.
The Republican approach - which has not been finalized - would effectively rearrange three looming deadlines in the long war between the parties over deficit reduction.