WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats intend to introduce legislation by mid-week to raise the nation's debt limit without the unrelated conditions Republicans have said they intend to seek, officials said Monday, as the White House signaled it would accept even a brief extension in borrowing authority to prevent an unprecedented default.

The emerging measure is designed to ensure that there's no repetition of the current borrowing squeeze until after the 2014 elections.

Depending on the Republican response, it could be the middle of next week before a final vote is taken on the measure, close to the Oct. 17 deadline that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has set for Congress to avert a possible default.

The details were described by officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss a measure that has yet to be made public.

It is unclear when Republicans in the House, who hold a majority, intend to advance debt limit legislation of their own.

Republicans have said they will seek long-term deficit cuts or reforms to benefit programs and perhaps a wholesale rollback in environmental rules as the price for raising the current $16.7 trillion debt limit. President Barack Obama has ruled out negotiations on the measure, although he has said he is willing to discuss fiscal and other issues with the GOP once the weeklong partial government shutdown is over and the Treasury is free to borrow again.

Gene Sperling, a senior Obama economic adviser, was pressed on whether he would rule out a two- or three-week extension on increasing the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned that on Oct. 17, he exhausts the bookkeeping maneuvers he has been using to keep borrowing.

"There's no question that the longer the debt limit is extended, the greater economic certainty there will be in our economy which would be better for jobs, growth and investment," Sperling told a breakfast sponsored by the newspaper Politico. "That said, it is the responsibility of Congress to decide how long and how often they want to vote on doing that."

Economists say a default could trigger a financial crisis and recession that would echo 2008 — or worse. The 2008 financial crisis plunged the country into the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Sperling reiterated Obama's vow not to negotiate on the debt because it would sanction the threat of default as a bargaining chip and increase the chance of default in the future.

Seeking to maintain pressure on Republicans, Obama made a previously unannounced visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters Monday to draw attention to a government agency that has had to furlough 86 percent of its workforce as part of the partial shutdown.

Obama thanked FEMA employees for their work preparing for Tropical Storm Karen, which dissipated Sunday after posing a threat to the Gulf Coast.

"We dodged a bullet there," Obama said.

FEMA recalled 200 furloughed workers last week to help prepare for the storm. Obama said that now that the storm has weakened, at least 100 of those workers will have to return to furloughed status.

"That's no way of doing business," the president said.

The Republican-controlled House last week passed legislation that would continue to direct money to FEMA during the shutdown. But Democrats and the White House say they do not want to respond to the impasse in a piecemeal fashion.

A defiant House Speaker John Boehner has insisted that Obama must negotiate on changes to the 3-year-old health care law and spending cuts if he wants to end the shutdown and avert a default.

"We're not going to pass a clean debt limit increase," the Ohio Republican said in a television interview Sunday. "I told the president, there's no way we're going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit, and the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us."

The uncompromising talk rattled financial markets early Monday as stocks slumped. China, which holds $1.277 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds and stands as the United States' biggest foreign creditor, urged that all efforts are made to avoid a default.

Among congressional leaders, however, animosity marked the stalemate and resolution seemed elusive.

Boehner said Sunday that he lacks the votes "to pass a clean CR," or continuing resolution, a reference to the temporary spending bill without conditions that would keep the government operating.

Democrats insist that Republicans could easily open the government if Boehner simply allows a vote on the emergency spending bill. Democrats argue that their 200 members in the House plus close to two dozen pragmatic Republicans would back a so-called clean bill, but the Speaker remains hamstrung by his tea party-strong GOP caucus.

"I ask the Speaker, why are you afraid?" Senate Majority Leader Reid said on the Senate floor. "Are you afraid this measure will pass, the government will reopen and Americans will realize you took the country hostage for no apparent reason?"

Across the Capitol, Boehner said House Republicans have repeatedly asked for negotiations over ending the shutdown and curbing the health care law, only to be turned down by Obama and congressional Democrats.

"The president's refusal to negotiate is hurting our economy and putting our country at risk," Boehner said as Monday's House debate began.

He said Americans expect that in "a time of crisis," their leaders will talk.

"Really, Mr. President. It's time to have that conversation before our economy is put further at risk," Boehner said.

Lew has warned that the budget brinkmanship was "playing with fire" and implored Congress to pass legislation to re-open the government and increase the nation's debt limit.

The shutdown has pushed hundreds of thousands of workers off the job, closed national parks and museums and stopped an array of government services.

The one bright spot on Monday is a significant chunk of the furloughed federal workforce is headed back to work. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered nearly 350,000 back on the job, basing his decision on a Pentagon interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act.

In a series of Sunday television appearances, Lew said that while Treasury expects to have $30 billion of cash on hand on Oct. 17, that money will be quickly exhausted in paying incoming bills given that the government's payments can run up to $60 billion on a single day.

Treasury issued a report on Thursday detailing in stark terms what could happen if the government actually defaulted on its obligations to service the national debt, with credit markets frozen, the dollar in free fall and U.S. interest rates skyrocketing.

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Associated Press writers David Espo, Martin Crutsinger, Alan Fram and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

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  • John Boehner

    Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, pumps his fist as he walks past reporters after a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Mitch McConnell

    Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor after agreeing to the framework of a deal to avoid default and reopen the government on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/ Carolyn Kaster)

  • Harry Reid

    Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., walks to his office after arriving on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Ted Cruz

    Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pause as he speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • John McCain

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., walks to a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Susan Collins

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, walks out of the office of Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Lindsey Graham

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, in Washington. Time is growing short for Congress to prevent a threatened Treasury default and stop a partial government shutdown. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Charles Schumer

    Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., walks near the Ohio Clock on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Paul Ryan

    House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., walks to a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Kevin McCarthy

    House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrives for a meeting with House Republicans in the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, in Washington, after Senate leaders reached last-minute agreement Wednesday to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Eric Cantor

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., arrives for a meeting with House Republicans after Senate leaders reached a last-minute agreement Wednesday to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • The Capitol

    A view of the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 in Washington. The partial government shutdown is in its third week and less than two days before the Treasury Department says it will be unable to borrow and will rely on a cash cushion to pay the country's bills. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Barack Obama, Democrats

    President Barack Obama, center, and Vice President Joe Biden, center left, meet with Democratic Leadership in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, James Clyburn

    From left, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., walk out of the West Wing of the White House to speak with reporters following their meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Jay Carney

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney answers a reporter's question at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, regarding talks between Republicans and Democrats lawmakers on the partial government shutdown and looming debt default. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Harry Reid

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., walks to the Senate floor following lunch with fellow Democrats, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Steve King

    Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, walks from House Speaker John Boehner’s office with reporters asking questions, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Joe Manchin

    Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., taks on his phone just off the Senate floor following lunch with fellow Democrats, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Eric Cantor

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, is followed by reporters as he leaves Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Steny Hoyer

    Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., leaves the Capitol at the end of the night after a planned vote in the House of Representatives collapsed, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in Washington. Time growing desperately short, House Republicans pushed for passage of legislation late Tuesday to prevent a threatened Treasury default, end a 15-day partial government shutdown and extricate divided government from its latest brush with a full political meltdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Reporters Waiting

    Reporters wait outside the office of Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, as a planned vote in the House of Representatives collapsed, Tuesday night, Oct. 15, 2013, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Pizza Delivery

    A trolly loaded with pizza is wheeled onto the elevator that serves the office of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Boehner Protesters

    Protesters demonstrate outside the offices of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in West Chester, Ohio. The government shutdown is entering its third week. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

  • Stuck Tourists

    On a cross -country driving tour of national parks, Mary and Bob Barker from New Jersey take a few pictures of the closed gate of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington on Oct. 15, 2013 as the it remained closed due to the partial government shutdown. "It's been nothing but a ghost town at every park we've been too. We thought it (the shutdown) was only going to last a couple of days," said Bob Baker. (AP Photo/The News Tribune, Dean J. Koepfler)

  • Capitol Dome

    In this Oct. 14, 2013, photo, the U.S. Capitol is seen as a partial government shutdown enters its third week, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama stands with Chantelle Britton, who works at the Department of Health and Human Services, left, while putting a bologna sandwich into a Ziploc bag as he visits Martha's Table, which assists the poor and where furloughed federal employees are volunteering, in Washington, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Harry Reid

    Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is surrounded by reporters after leaving the office of Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., on Capitol Hill on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • WWII Veterans

    A group of WWII veterans from Montana go around the barricades to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Eric Cantor

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., walks to the floor during a vote at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, as a partial government shutdown enters its third week. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Reporters Waiting

    Reporters wait outside the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Students At The Capitol

    Eighth-grade students from Highland Middle School in La Grange, Ill., take photos as they visit the Capitol in Washington, Monday morning, Oct. 14, 2013, as a partial government shutdown enters its third week. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • WWII Veteran

    Edward Swetish of Helena, Mont., a WWII veteran, poses for a photograph in front of a statue of President Roosevelt at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

  • Ted Cruz

    Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas talks with reporters following a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Stock Market

    Trader Kevin Lodewick, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Global stock markets were mostly higher Thursday Oct. 10, 2013 as President Barack Obama prepares to meet with top Republican leaders in hopes of ending an impasse over the nation's borrowing limit and resolving budget disagreements that have led to a partial shutdown of the federal government. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Mitch McConnell

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky heads to a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Lincoln Memorial Cleanup

    Chris Cox of Mount Pleasant, S.C., rakes leaves near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Cox has taken it upon himself to mow and clean up the grounds around the Lincoln Memorial during the government shutdown. Cox has worked at least 100 hours, since he started eight days ago. He said that he’s not there to point fingers, "my message is simple, let’s get together and help." (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

  • Richard Burr

    Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. talks with reporters following a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. President Barack Obama is making plans to talk with Republican lawmakers at the White House in the coming days as pressure builds on both sides to resolve their deadlock over the federal debt limit and the partial government shutdown. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Seal Rocks Closed

    Empty tables overlooking Seal Rocks are shown inside the closed Cliff House Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in San Francisco. The 150-year-old oceanside icon has been ordered closed Wednesday by the National Park Service for the duration of the partial government shutdown, leaving most of the restaurant's 170 employees without work. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Lincoln Memorial Cleanup

    Chris Cox of Mount Pleasant, S.C., pushes a cart near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Cox has taken it upon himself to mow and clean up the grounds around the Lincoln Memorial during the government shutdown and has worked at least 100 hours, since he started eight days ago. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

  • Phoenix Protesters

    As the federal government shutdown continues, Matthew Kay, left, of Arizona FairShare, Ryan Mims, middle, of the American Federation of Government Employees AFL-CIO, and Pat Driscoll, right, of the Veterans Administration, join others as they rally to end the shutdown in front of the Social Security Administration offices on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Harry Reid

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. stands on the Senate steps on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, during a news conference on the ongoing budget battle. President Barack Obama was making plans to talk with Republican lawmakers at the White House in the coming days as pressure builds on both sides to resolve their deadlock over the federal debt limit and the partial government shutdown. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Cliff House Closed

    People walk away from the Cliff House after learning that it was closed due to a partial government shutdown Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in San Francisco. The 150-year-old oceanside icon has been ordered closed Wednesday by the National Park Service for the duration of the shutdown, leaving most of the restaurant's 170 employees without work. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Jay Carney

    White House press secretary Jay Carney briefs reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Carney opened with remarks on Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki's testimony on Capitol Hill regarding veterans benefits and the partial government shutdown. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Everglades National Park Protesters

    In this aerial photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, participants aboard a portion of the 100 boats protesting the closure of Everglades National Park waters is seen Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, near Islamorada, Fla. AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Andy Newman)

  • Harry Reid, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Barbara Mikulski, Ben Cardin, Vincent Gray, Richard Durbin

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., joined by Senate Democrats speaks during a news conference on the Senate steps on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013, to urge House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, and House Republicans to break the impasse on a funding bill and stop the government shutdown that is now in its second week. From left are, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, Reid, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Phoenix Protesters

    As the federal government shutdown continues, Tory Anderson, right, with her kids Audrey, 7, and Kai, 3, of Goodyear, Ariz., join others as they rally for the Alliance of Retired Americans to end the shutdown in front of the Social Security Administration offices on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in Phoenix. Other groups rallying to end the government shutdown include Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, the American Federation of Government Employees AFL-CIO, and Arizona FairShare. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Tom Harkin, Tom Udall, Jack Reed

    From right, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa arrive for a news conference on the ongoing budget battle, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, on the Senate steps on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Barack Obama was making plans to talk with Republican lawmakers at the White House in the coming days as pressure builds on both sides to resolve their deadlock over the federal debt limit and the partial government shutdown. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Vincent Gray, Eleanor Holmes Norton

    Washington, Mayor Vincent Gray, right, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., left, make their way through the crowd after joining Senate Democrats outside the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, to urge House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, and other House Republicans, to break the impasse on a funding bill and stop the government shutdown that is now in its second week. Gray said in a statement Tuesday that the shutdown, now in its second week, is having dire consequences in his city. He said D.C. is the only city in the country where residents are worried that their local government won't be able to provide basic services during the shutdown. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Eric Shinseki

    Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, before the House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on the effects the government shutdown is having on benefits and services to veterans. About 3.8 million veterans will not receive disability compensation next month if the partial government shutdown continues into late October, Shinseki told lawmakers Wednesday. Some 315,000 veterans and 202,000 surviving spouses and dependents will see pension payments stopped. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Jim Sensenbrenner, Lynn A. Westmoreland

    Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., left, and Rep. Lynn A. Westmoreland, R-Ga., right, and other lawmakers, walk to a closed-door Republican strategy session as the partial government shutdown enters its second week with no end in sight, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Capitol Hill

    The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunrise in Washington, D.C., October 8, 2013, on the eighth day of the government shutdown. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)