(WASHINGTON) — Closing out their private retreat with a closed-door conversation about the looming increase of the statutory debt limit, Republicans did not strike a consensus on how to move forward, according to a top GOP leadership aide.
“The conversation didn’t change much,” the aide admitted. “No consensus today. Similar ideas thrown around as usual.”
With 218 an elusive number of members for the GOP leadership to line up on any debt limit proposal, some Republicans prefer to leave it to Senate Democrats to make the first move, even if that only means passing a clean increase.
If a clean debt limit increase ultimately comes to the House floor, sources expect a bare minimum GOP lawmakers would support it, putting the onus on Democrats to carry the water of the vote.
In the eyes of Republicans, that strategy would also allow them to bash Democrats for doing little to address the country’s growing debt — even if Republicans can’t come together on their own proposal to reform spending.
Speaker Boehner has repeatedly insisted he will not let the country default on its debt obligations, a subtle signal that he is prepared to allow a clean debt limit vote to proceed should the showdown come down to the wire next month.
While the deal to reopen the government last October suspended the debt limit until Feb. 7, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has said the department could execute extraordinary measures until the end of February before Congress is fully compelled to act.
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