Speaker John Boehner urged his House Republican conference to “hang tough” at a Friday meeting, the New York Times reported, even as his allies privately admitted that the House will likely ultimately re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling without extracting concessions from the White House.
“We are locked in an epic battle,” Boehner reportedly said.
But that hardline sentiment clashed with the GOP strategizing leaked to the Times.
They are only trying to survive another day, Republican strategists say, hoping to maintain unity as long as possible so that when the Republican position collapses, they can capitulate on two issues at once — financing the government and raising the debt ceiling — and head off any internal party backlash. Republican lawmakers say Mr. Boehner has assured them privately that he will not permit a default.
Republican sources suggested that Boehner had resisted bringing the Senate spending bill to the House floor — where it would likely pass with help from Democrats — for fear that Republicans would revolt and refuse to vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling.
“It’s common-sense strategy,” a Republican strategist told the Times. “If you’re going to take a bullet, you want to take just one.”