House Republican leaders have given up on trying to condition a debt ceiling increase on the elimination of Obamacare’s risk corridors and approval of the Keystone pipeline, three well-placed sources confirmed to TPM.
GOP leaders pitched the ideas to members and failed to secure 218 votes, the sources said. Any increase will have to be bipartisan. Leadership intends to meet with members early next week to discuss the next steps.
There are no specific options on the table, at this point, and it’s unlikely that House Republicans can get enough votes for any conditioned debt limit hike. Democrats insist it must be raised without policy add-ons and far-right Republicans don’t want to vote for any increase.
It’s a major setback for House Republicans, who have insisted on extracting concessions for raising the country’s borrowing limit. They have indicated for weeks that they’ll force another hostage standoff, but their efforts to come up with a ransom demand have — perhaps predictably — failed.
“When even Rep. [Raul] Labrador is saying that this time Republicans should be honest that they can’t win a ransom on the debt limit, it’s time for Speaker Boehner to admit defeat and stop playing games with the economy,” said a senior Democratic Senate aide.
The country will exhaust its borrowing authority in late February, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reaffirmed this week, urging Congress to act quickly to raise the debt limit and avert a potentially catastrophic default.