House Republicans announced on Thursday that they will offer legislation temporarily increasing the debt limit, in exchange for “good-faith negotiations” with the White House over the federal budget.
“What we want to do is to offer the president today the opportunity to move a temporary increase in the debt ceiling,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters, in exchange for “willingness to sit down and discuss with us a way forward to reopen the government, and to start to deal with America’s pressing problems.”
Boehner did not specify which issues qualify as “pressing problems,” but House Republican Conference chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) highlighted “long-term debt drivers,” sounding much like the plan that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) floated in a Wednesday op-ed column.
Although Speaker Boehner has repeatedly failed to unite his caucus around his legislative gambits in the past, there are hopeful signs that Republicans will get on board with the short-term increase. Right-wing representatives such as Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who have typified the opposition to the Speaker in the past, are signaling that the Republican caucus could support Boehner in this instance.
Democrats may be a tougher sell. The proposal would not reopen the federal government, which will likely be a sticking point with the White House. President Barack Obama has vowed not to negotiate with House Republicans until both the government shutdown and the threat to breach the debt ceiling end.
“While we are willing to look at any proposal Congress puts forward to end these manufactured crises, we will not allow a faction of the Republicans in the House to hold the economy hostage to its extraneous and extreme political demands,” an anonymous White House official told Politico on Thursday. “Congress needs to pass a clean debt limit increase and a funding bill to reopen the government.”
House Republicans will presumably discuss their plan with President Obama when 18 GOP House leaders and committee chairs meet with him at the White House on Thursday afternoon. The House is not expected to bring any legislation to the floor until after the meeting takes place.