Boehner Tells Colleagues He Won't Default On Federal Debt

I know Republican flacks were told not to use the GB phrase anymore, and instead say "big deal," but I have to wonder what the GOP expects to get in return:

With the government shuttered and a deadline for raising the debt limit just two weeks off, anxious Republicans began steering the party away from a dead-end debate about the health-care law and toward discussion of a broader deal to reduce the nation’s debt.

In meetings with small groups of rank-and-file lawmakers, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has emphasized that he will not permit the country to default for the first time on its debt. Given that a bloc of hard-line conservatives is unlikely to vote to increase the limit under any circumstances, Boehner has told fellow Republicans that they must craft an agreement that can attract significant Democratic support.

“This needs to be a big bipartisan deal,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a close Boehner ally, said as he emerged from a luncheon meeting in the speaker’s office Thursday. “This is much more about the debt ceiling and a larger budget agreement than it is about Obamacare.”

One lawmaker, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Thursday that Boehner has even suggested that he may be willing to risk the fury of conservatives by relying on a majority of Democratic votes — and less than a majority of Republicans — to pass a debt-ceiling increase. Doing so would recall the vote tallies on the huge political defeats Boehner suffered earlier this year as he agreed to head off year-end tax increases and provide federal relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

A senior aide denied that Boehner has suggested such a strategy. Meanwhile, senior policy aides were at work on last-ditch alternatives that could win the support of a majority of Republicans, such as increasing the $16.7 trillion debt limit for a short period — mere days or weeks — to force Democrats to the negotiating table.

“Speaker Boehner has always said that the United States will not default on its debt, but if we’re going to raise the debt limit, we need to deal with the drivers of our debt and deficits,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a written statement.

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