Multiple House Republican members and GOP leadership sources tell CNN that leaders are preparing a proposal to raise the debt ceiling temporarily while keeping the government shut down.
The sources tell CNN that House GOP leaders’ plan is to formally discuss the idea with the GOP conference at a meeting Thursday morning.
Senior House Republican sources have been telling CNN since earlier this week the idea of raising the debt ceiling for four to six weeks is the most viable way out of the stalemate.
A House Democratic lawmaker told CNN on Wednesday evening that President Barack Obama held a private White House meeting. In it, he said he would likely agree to a short term debt ceiling deal if that’s what Republicans would support in order to avoid default, the lawmaker said.
Talking about a short term solution, the president told House Democrats, “If that’s what (House Speaker John) Boehner needs to climb out of the tree that he’s stuck in, then that’s something we should look at,” according to the House Democratic member.
After hearing that, as well as public comments of support from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, House Republican sources say they decided it’s time to push the idea with rank and file Republicans, especially since they hope to discuss the idea with the president in a White House meeting Thursday afternoon.
One of the GOP sources cautioned that the exact length of the short term debt ceiling bill is not yet worked out. It could be six weeks; it could be a bit shorter.
Senior House Republicans are hoping the idea of allowing a short term increase in the debt ceiling – but not immediately agreeing to fund the government – will placate conservatives.
Earlier, House GOP sources told CNN any stop gap debt ceiling increase would have to be accompanied by a guarantee for negotiations over issues relating to the nation’s debt. Republicans will still demand this, but it is unclear how specific they will be in laying out the parameters of those talks as a condition to raising the debt ceiling temporarily.
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said on CNN on Wednesday night that he does not think a short term increase in the debt ceiling is a good idea because it only delays the problem.
“Well, it’s just going to make the markets skittish for another six weeks or whatever,” he said. “I don’t see why we can’t just get that off the table. We don’t have to speculate. I understand there are people who basically are denying that this is going to be a real problem. We don’t have to speculate on that”.
But King also said he would support it if it’s the only option to avoid defaulting.