As congressional leaders and the White House gear up for the next big budget battle in Washington – a showdown over raising the country’s debt ceiling – the top House Republican said that President Obama is open to considering proposals that would not contain a “clean” vote on the debt limit.
Asked after a White House meeting whether Obama said he’d be open to such a possibility, which many Republicans have said is a condition of their support for raising the debt limit, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that Obama replied in the affirmative.
Boehner made the statement to reporters at a news conference after meeting with other congressional leaders and Obama at the White House to preview the president’s afternoon speech on debt reduction.
Obama faces pressure from members of his own party to support a “clean” debt limit vote, or one that would not include any additional proposals such as Republicans’ push for a vote on a balanced budget amendment or a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan.
Even as Boehner was speaking, a group of House Democrats led by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) was preparing to hold a news conference at the Capitol urging Obama to reject anything but a clean vote on the debt limit.
The Treasury Department has projected the country will reach its $14.25 trillion debt ceiling by mid-May, although the administration could take extraordinary measures to postpone the final deadline for a vote until early July.
The White House had initially said that it wanted a clean debt-limit vote; Boehner’s statement Wednesday is a signal that the administration may be rethinking that stance.