House GOP signals openness to backup debt plan
July 14th, 2011
09:21 PM ET
9 years ago

House GOP signals openness to backup debt plan

Washington (CNN) - In a sharp turnaround, House Republican leaders signaled Thursday they are open to a backup debt ceiling plan pushed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to avoid a default on the nation's credit.

"What may look like something less than optimal today, if we're unable to get to an agreement, might look pretty good a couple of weeks from now," House Speaker John Boehner said during a Capitol Hill news conference.

Boehner, R-Ohio, emphasized the McConnell proposal was something he thought should be on the table only if negotiations collapsed.

"I think it's worth keeping on the table. There are a lot of options that people have floated and, frankly, I think it's an option that may be worthy at some point," Boehner said.

The change in position was notable because just a day earlier, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, said the measure couldn't pass the House.

But GOP aides now say that as talks remain stalled and the deadline nears, leaders are leaving open the option that some version of the McConnell plan could come before the House.

McConnell's proposal would allow three short-term increases to the debt ceiling between now and the end of next year. Congress could vote against an increase by passing a resolution of disapproval. The president could then veto the resolution of disapproval, but it would be unlikely Congress would have enough votes to override his veto.

But now, as the White House negotiations falter, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and McConnell, R-Kentucky, are working on a variation of the Senate GOP leader's plan that could serve as way around the debt impasse. It would combine McConnell's proposal, which requires three votes on short-term increases in the debt limit, with a Democratic proposal that would create a bipartisan commission to recommend entitlement and spending cuts, tax increases and other measures designed to reduce the debt, according to congressional aides. Congress would then vote on the package but would not be allowed to amend it.

In addition, aides said Reid and McConnell are considering including in the plan more than $1 trillion in spending cuts that the Biden-led talks had identified, in a bid to gain support from House Republicans.

House conservatives have strongly opposed McConnell's original framework because it would give the president the authority to raise the debt ceiling without requiring any spending cuts in return.

One House GOP congressional aide said details were still scarce on the Senate plan, but said "it's feasible" House Republicans could accept a version of the McConnell-Reid plan if spending cuts were included.

In a sign of the tough challenge for Speaker Boehner to get conservative support, one of his lieutenants at the leadership table, freshman Rep. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, dismissed McConnell's back up plan as "unworthy, unrealistic and an abdication of the responsibility of the majority."

But Scott also conceded that as the clock ticked down toward the deadline - even with a group of conservatives opposed to any deal - Boehner could get enough votes to pass something.

"I think there's a possibility that a lot of folks will do a lot of things when the pressure gets really hot. The only question is can you survive those, that abdication, come election day in about 15 or 16 months," Scott said.

As Democrats accused Cantor of undermining White House negotiations after a tense exchange with Obama at the end of Wednesday's meeting, both he and Boehner sought to show they are united. At one point during Thursday's Capitol Hill press conference, Boehner walked over to Cantor, who was answering a question about the reported split between them, and put his arm around him, as reporters and aides to the leaders chuckled at the deliberate public gesture. The sound of cameras clicking could be heard as photographers moved quickly to capture the moment.

Boehner then defended Cantor, saying, "We have been in this fight together and any suggestion about the role that Eric has played in these meetings has been anything less than helpful is just wrong."

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • Eric Cantor • John Boehner • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Ibrahim

    The republicans are really a disgrace for this powerful country ! Im not surprised why china is a rising power ! Their president do not have to compromise

    July 14, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Our dysfunctional political system allows a small group of extreme politicians to hold this country hostage. Speaker of the House, Boehner, cannot deliver the necessary votes for a compromise because of opposition in his own party led by Majority House leader, Cantor, and Tea Party members. The polls indicate the majority of Americans do not approve of the No compromise position of Cantor and his Tea Party faction.

    July 14, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  3. bb

    GOP: "Sorry you don't like our perfectly good moldy ratbait cheese. We might be able to sell you our rancid half-eaten leftovers from last week, if you're lucky."

    July 14, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  4. lucerot

    Republicans are a joke at this point.. 100% politics, 0% policy.

    July 14, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  5. Peter s

    Whats the catch? another trap for President Obama?

    July 14, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  6. justin

    one term limits, no more career politicians.our country deserves better repesentation than what we have been getting.

    July 14, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  7. The Other Campaign Strategist @ 115th & Amsterdam Ave.

    Cantor Rejects Senated Republicans Plan was the headline yesterday. To which I wrote:
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    OK – Everyone needs to be on guard because the GOP is desperate and has proven that they play games.

    I predict there could be some fake "negotiation" afterwhich Cantor and McConnell announce they have crafted an approach that would pass the House and has the support of all Republicans in the Senate. The antidote – Democrats must reject the short term plan now.
    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    It can't be this easy to see where the Republicans are going and beat them to the punch but it is. Damn, the DNC should REALLY hire me as a special advisor to the President. Come Mr. President, like you, I'm a Columbia man.

    I can't wait to see the GOP squirm when the President takes the gloves off and begins to prepare, as he must, for the imbalance between checks to write and funds comming in from government revenues. Boehner will pull Cantor aside and pimp slap him.

    July 13, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |

    July 14, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |

    Enough already, just Vote and we will know where everybody stands and it will be on the record.

    July 14, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    Eric Cantor and the tea-baggers are the ones responsibile for the uncertainty in this country.

    I hope you folks that voted for those tea-baggers lose YOUR money too.

    July 14, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  10. Sgt Schultz

    Cool thank goodness we have the Republicans to protect the Robber Barons, Millionaires, Billionaires, Corporate Welfare, Tax Subsidies and Loopholes to help-out the powerful special interest and well-connected. I am so excited and can't wait to vote for the Republicans again. (not)

    July 14, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  11. GOP = Greed Over People

    Well at least the GOP mantra "we stand for the will of the people" is off the table.

    Latest poll shows that 67% of Americans DO want taxes increased on the rich and corporations, so, if they support the true will of the people, then accept the 4 trillion deal, which was 3 trillion in spending cuts and 1 trillion in tax hikes for the rich..

    So, again, the only "will of the people" the GOP stands for are "people" conceived and born in corporate legal offices.

    July 14, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  12. Chedar

    Republicans are evil doer.

    July 14, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    If they think their shenanigans will put them back in the white house and senate, they are dead wrong.

    WE have heard what they want to cut, we know who they pledge their allegiance to, and it's not in the interest of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    They love the corporations and Grover Norquist is their God.

    Obama/Biden 2012 -– and anyone BUT a republican/tea-bagger in 2016.

    July 14, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  14. michael

    Tax evaders remember there faces!

    July 14, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  15. michael

    When this is all over your all going to prison for buy 300.00 toilets with tax payers money when you can get them for 50.00 Bucks at walmart. You will account for the remanding balances!

    July 14, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  16. Monzell

    Its time we put dems in all 3 houses so we can get usa on track rep want to take us don't. they must hate usa gov is we the people dum bell !!

    July 14, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  17. larry

    As long as it includes accepting Obumas resignation,the complete reversal of the socialist healthcare law and the reestablishment of the sovereignty of the United States from the American hating left.Other than that,never give in to mindless Liberal BS !

    July 14, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  18. Monzell

    Vote to rise. Tax tax us that the price to live in usa. gov means we the people. not hate.

    July 14, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  19. I'm a GOP Hostage and so are you

    The GOP is worthless.

    Actually, I DO hope for big cuts. Military contracting cuts, cuts of insane Bush-era programs and laws. Anything Republican. Get. Rid. Of. It.

    July 14, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  20. Aaron

    With friends like Cantor, Boehner definitely does not need any enemies.

    July 14, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  21. Paul James Acosta

    I have a great fear that the GOP will destroy this Nation in order to keep their tax breaks, something has to be done or things will get out of hand...

    July 14, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  22. lou

    yep i think we'll be looking at a 1.5 trillion dollar plan because house repubs don't believe in negotiating

    July 14, 2011 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  23. Tex71

    "Attack! Attack!".....
    ..."Run away! Run away!".....

    July 14, 2011 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  24. Papabear

    I think that we need to clear the house and the senate if over 100 people can't put their heads together and work this thing out. It is no longer being about what the people want, its more about what can I do to keep my position and not have to worry about getting re-elected. When McConnel said hit plan was to make sure that President Obama was only a one term president, right then he didn't have the best interest of the people in mind. Just thinking about who is in his party and trying to please them. Not concerned with making improvements. Boehner, is more concerned about not easing up on the wealthy and making sure that they keep their money so his pockets can stay greased up real good. This has gone on for too long and needs and immediate resolution!

    July 14, 2011 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |

    Watch your back Bohner,.. that Cantor fellow is a shifty, grinning weasel,.. he's willing to plunge the country into chaos,.. and he wouldn't hesitate to plunge a knife in your back.

    July 14, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
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