FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) --
UPDATE: Stocks surge on hopes of avoiding default
NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market is closing sharply higher as Washington moves closer to avoiding a default on the U.S. government's debt.
The market had its best day since January 2.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 36 points to close at 1,692 Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 323 points to end at 15,126. The Nasdaq composite rose 82 points to 3,760.
House Republicans said they would advance legislation to temporarily extend the government's borrowing authority so it can continue to pay its bills on time. The prospect of an unprecedented default on the U.S. government's debt and a partial shutdown of the government have been dragging the stock market lower for three weeks.
UPDATE: Boehner offers debt extension, White House says likely OK
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A spokesman says President Barack Obama will "likely" sign a bill extending the government's ability to borrow money -- but that he wants Congress to reopen the government at the same time.
House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) says Republicans will vote for a six-week extension of the debt limit, but only if Obama first agrees to fresh negotiations on spending cuts. And under the plan, the partial government shutdown would continue.
White House spokesman Jay Carney didn't rule out Obama agreeing to the debt ceiling proposal if the government remains closed, but there are no promises that he would hold negotiations under those circumstances. Carney says, "He will not pay ransom in exchange for the Republicans in the House doing their job."
Obama meets this afternoon with Boehner and other House Republicans.
After weeks of declines, financial markets have shot higher today in anticipation of a possible deal. The administration has warned that unless the debt limit is raised, the government will deplete its ability to borrow money by next Thursday -- and that there could be a default.
NEW: Reid won't negotiate while gov't partly closed
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Democrats will not negotiate with Republican lawmakers as long as the government is still partially closed.
Reid spoke to reporters following a meeting on Thursday with President Barack Obama at the White House that lasted nearly two hours. Reid says Senate Democrats want the government open and want the nation to be able to pay its bills.
Earlier Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) proposed a short-term increase in the federal debt limit if Obama agrees to negotiate with Republicans on a broader budget deal. But the Boehner proposal would not end the government shutdown.
When asked whether he would negotiate with Republicans while the government is closed, Reid said it's "not going to happen."
Senate OKs bill to pay military death benefits
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has approved legislation to provide benefits to the families of fallen troops.
The Senate backed the measure Thursday, after the House approved it unanimously a day earlier.
The Pentagon typically pays out $100,000 within three days of a soldier's death. But officials say the shutdown means there's no authority now to pay the money.
That's a point of dispute with members of Congress who argue that the benefits should not be affected.
Facing controversy, the Obama administration announced Wednesday that a charity called the Fischer House Foundation would pick up the costs of the payments during the government shutdown.
Federal courts to remain open through Oct. 17
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's federal courts have enough money to stay open at least through Oct. 17 if there is no resolution to the budget stalemate in Washington.
The courts' administrative office sent out a statement Thursday. It says the judiciary may be able to make it to the end of next week because of severe restrictions on spending imposed in anticipation of the government shutdown.
If the courts do run out of money, all non-essential work will end. A limited number of workers will perform essential work as determined by each court, while all others will be furloughed.
The Supreme Court has not announced its plans beyond Friday, but lawyers involved in arguments at the high court next week say they expect those sessions will take place.
White House condemns Libyan official's abduction
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says it's pleased that Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan is again a free man after his abduction at gunpoint earlier Thursday.
Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. condemns the kidnapping, which was carried out at dawn from the hotel where Zidan lives in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. The abduction appeared to be retaliation for a weekend raid by U.S. special forces that seized a Libyan al-Qaida suspect in Tripoli.