House Republicans will meet today to determine how to proceed on the continuing resolution/debt ceiling negotiations. Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) has said he will not dictate strategy at the meeting, but members are looking to him to for direction and strategy as the shutdown continues and debt ceiling deadline looms.
“He’s trying to work through it,” said Rep. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) (R-Okla.), a member of GOP leadership. “He has an awful lot in his arsenal.”
Funding negotiations are at a standstill because the Senate and President Obama have thus far refused to negotiate at all. Time is running out on the debt ceiling portion of negotiations as the deadline for raising the debt limit is a hard date of October 17.
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) (R-Idaho), an ally of Boehner. “Honestly, I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
Those around Boehner have said he is planning to “go big” to deal with the crisis. The Speaker has a had a series of meeting with is conference this week. During a lunch with 20 congressmen hosted by Boehner this week, the Speaker indicated he “prefers to reach a big deal to avoid default and open the government.”
“He’s really trying to find the pathway that not only gets the government up and running again but really allows for an opportunity to get some major things done beyond that,” a GOP lawmaker close to the Speaker told The Hill.
Boehner is not alone in his interest in a “big deal.” House Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-MI) and House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) have also expressed interest. They are currently taking the temperature of other GOP members about what that might entail.
Right now, the question is if Boehner will negotiate with Democrats to get the votes he needs to avoid default.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) (R-Okla.) said he had not heard of discussions about heavily relying on Democrats, but did not rule out reaching across the aisle to help push a final agreement over the finish line.
“If there’s an arrangement or a deal, you don’t have to get 218 from one side or the other,” said Cole, another Boehner ally.