Report: Boehner Will Push Through Debt Limit Hike Before Stepping Down

Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Anonymous GOP sources are telling Politico that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is looking to move a bill that would lift the debt ceiling before he steps down. According to the Politico report, published Wednesday, Boehner is still trying to negotiate a deal with the White House that would include the debt ceiling raise within a larger budget package. However, Politico’s sources say, if those talks fall through, GOP leadership is willing to put forth a standalone debt ceiling bill — a so-called “clean” bill — before a new speaker takes over Boehner’s gavel.

Boehner’s office did not comment on the Politico report.

The move is an effort by Boehner — that has been encouraged by Democrats and some moderate Republicans alike — to get a high-stakes, combustive debt ceiling vote off of Congress’ plate before a new speaker is elected. It would also ease the intense pressure on the new speaker from the conservatives hardliners who threatened a coup against Boehner before his resignation announcement. Additionally, a “clean” debt ceiling vote would represent a reversal of a strategy Boehner himself introduced in 2011, Politico notes, to use the debt ceiling vote to extract concessions on spending from Democrats in exchange for avoiding a default on the national debt.

Boehner has said he would like to step down by Oct 30. However, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) decision to drop out of the race to replace him has thrown the schedule for speaker elections in flux.

The Treasury Department has said that the federal government is expected to exceed its current borrowing limit on Nov. 5.

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