Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in a conference call Sunday afternoon urged his rank-and-file to accept a debt deal that “has a shot” of passing both chambers of Congress and being signed by President Obama.
“The White House has never gotten serious about tackling the serious issues our nation faces - not without tax hikes - and I don’t think they ever will,” he told rank-and-file GOP members on the call, according to excerpts of the comments circulated among the conference and obtained by TPM.
Even so, Boehner said he believed the path forward is “to pull together as a team behind a new measure that has a shot at getting to the President’s desk.”
“It won’t be Cut, Cap, & Balance as we passed it, but it should be a package that reflects the principles of Cut, Cap, & Balance,” he said. “We’re committed to working with you - and with our Republican colleagues in the Senate - to get it done. No one is willing to default on the full faith and credit of the United States.”
After walking away from talks with the White House Friday, Boehner has spent the weekend mainly working with Senate and House Democratic leaders to try to forge a deal that would at the very least raise the debt ceiling. It would be discussed at GOP conference meeting at 2 p.m. Monday and would be on the House floor for a vote as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Obama huddled with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for roughly an hour Sunday evening.
“In the meeting the President received an update on the state of negotiations on the Hill from Leader Pelosi and Leader Reid, and the Leaders and the President reiterated our opposition to a short-term debt limit increase,” is all a White House official said afterward.
House Republicans, however, were busy trying to convince their conference to accept a compromise deal that would meet Democrats somewhere in the middle but would not grant Republicans everything they want.
“It boils down to this,” Boehner said during the call with his GOP colleagues. “The president wants his $2.4 trillion debt limit increase all at once, without any guarantees that we’re going to cut more than $2.4 trillion in spending. The administration says they [want] it all up front so we don’t have to deal with this again until after the next election. You heard the president say that himself on TV the other night.”
“We’ve seen this coming all year long,” he added. “But here’s the challenge: to stop him, we need a vehicle that can pass in both houses.”
Boehner appeared to urge House GOP members to stick together and not start splintering and pointing fingers over aspects of a possible deal, a reference no doubt to tax cuts the conference would be forced to accept.
“If we stick together, I think we can win this for the American people…because I do think there is a path,” he said. “But it’s gonna require us to stand together as a team. It’s gonna require some of you to make some sacrifices. If we stand together as a team, our leverage is maximized, and they have to deal with us. If we’re divided, our leverage gets minimized.”
“Before I close, let me thank all of you for your patience, and for your confidence, and for your commitment to our country,” he added. “We’re doing the right thing, and you all know that the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing to do.”
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