House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told Fox News's Chris Wallace Sunday that any deal to raise the debt ceiling must be within the "cut, cap and balance" framework that has already been rejected by the Senate.
"I am going to continue to work with my congressional colleagues in both parties and my House Republican conference to try to develop a framework within the cut, cap and balance effort that the House passed this past week," Boehner insisted. "I think a preferable path would be a bipartisan plan that involves all of the leaders, but it is too early to decide whether that is possible."
"There will be a two-stage process, it's just not physically possible to do all of this in one step. Having said that, Chris, I know the president is worried about his next election. But my God, shouldn't he be worried about the country?" the Speaker wondered.
"So are you suggesting you might pass a short-term plan in the House and in effect, dare the Senate, dare the White House to block it?" Wallace asked.
"We passed cut, cap and balance," Boehner said.
"But they have been defeated," Wallace noted. "You talked about putting a framework out today. You are saying you would not do that unless you have Democratic buy-in?"
"I would prefer to have a bipartisan approach to solve this problem. If that is not possible, I and my Republican colleagues in the House are prepared to move on our own," Boehner explained.
"I continue to believe that a balanced budget amendment is the greatest enforcement mechanism to bring Washington spending under control," he later added.
Washington Monthly's Steve Benen observed that Boehner's threat to act alone may show that he is willing to let the country default on its debts.
"What Boehner is describing is a path that makes his caucus happy," Benen wrote. "Boehner's comments this morning -- 'I and my Republican colleagues are prepared to move on our own' -- sounded a lot like a House leader who's not even interested in finding a solution at all. His goal is likely to avoid blame, not to resolve the problem."
"In other words, Boehner sees the car headed for the cliff, and appears ready to put a brick on the accelerator," he concluded.