“It’s imminent,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told a news briefing.
Congress is unlikely to block the expected $1.2 trillion (£783bn) increase request, which is meant to ensure the debt limit will not be reached again until after November’s presidential election. The debt ceiling extension was permitted in an August deal between Obama’s Democrats and Republican lawmakers.
This is the final extension the cross-party agreement allowed the President to request. Granting of the request should be a formality, yet some commentators have suggested that it could be cited by politicians as the race for the White House heats up.
The US Congress is allowed 15 days to reject the debt extension. Yet even if it formalises its opposition, Obama has the power to veto its objections, and the Democrat-controlled Senate would get its way.
Republican speaker in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, said last night: “Washington’s mounting debt is a drag on our economic recovery and this request is another reminder that the President has consistently punted on the tough choices needed to rein in the deficit and protect important programmes for seniors from going bankrupt.”