(WASHINGTON) -- With a deadline for raising the debt limit fast-approaching, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has reportedly been telling colleagues in recent days that he will do whatever necessary to avoid defaulting on the federal debt, including relying on House Democrats to help pass an extension, according to GOP aides familiar with the conversations.
In a series of small group meetings held in his office suite off the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, Boehner has been meeting with colleagues to hear them out and reiterate that he will not permit a vote on a “clean” continuing resolution that does nothing about ending or delaying parts of the new federal health-care law.
Relying on Democratic votes to pass a debt ceiling extension likely would infuriate some of the most conservative members of the House GOP conference, but would be a repeat of a strategy that ensured passage earlier this year of measures to avert another fiscal impasse, to renew the Violence Against Women Act and to provide federal relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel would not confirm the details of the speaker’s conversations with members in recent days, but said the Boehner has always believed that defaulting on the federal debt must be avoided.
“Speaker Boehner has always said that the United States will not default on its debt, but if we’re going to raise the debt limit, we need to deal with the drivers of our debt and deficits. That’s why we need a bill with cuts and reforms to get our economy moving again,” Steel said.
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