Obama would keep sequester, for now, in return for funding deal

"We are willing to accept a short-term continuing resolution keeping funding at current levels to avert a shutdown and allow us time to continue to negotiate over a sensible compromise on a broader budget agreement," Carney said. 

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The White House had signaled as much in recent days, but had not explicitly said it would sign off on a continuing resolution at sequester levels. 

Some Democrats have argued that the party should take a hard stand and insist any new continuing resolutions include a repeal of the across-the-board spending cuts that kicked in when negotiators were unable to strike an overall budget deal earlier this year.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters earlier this week that he would not vote for a continuing resolution that included the cuts. 

“I am not going to vote to continue the sequester,” Hoyer said. “I believe it is inimical to the interests of the United States of America — to our government, to our economy and to our national security.” 

The House's No. 2 Democrat had previously backed short-term spending bills that included the cuts, in the interest of keeping the government open. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she would only support a continuing resolution at sequester levels for "a very short time." 

Carney said that the administration's willingness to consider the continuation of the spending cuts through December was evidence that Obama was willing to negotiate with Republicans, despite complaints from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that the White House was refusing to compromise

—Mike Lillis contributed.