From a source familiar with the call, this is what House Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans on Sunday:
I went on “Fox News Sunday” this morning because it was the most effective way to tell everyone where things stand. It boils down to this: The president wants his $2.4 trillion debt limit increase all at once, without any guarantees that we’re going to cut more than $2.4 trillion in spending. The administration says they have to have it all upfront so we don’t have to deal with this again until after the next election. You heard the president say that himself on TV the other night.
We’ve seen this coming all year long. But here’s the challenge: To stop him, we need a vehicle that can pass in both houses.
You know, last week we passed the Cut, Cap & Balance Act and showed America our solution, our vision, as we did months ago with our budget. So we’ve done our job. And I think the nation knows it. But as you all know, the Senate tabled the Cut, Cap & Balance Act. And I think the nation knows that, too. So the question becomes — if it’s not the Cut, Cap & Balance Act itself — what CAN we pass that will protect our country from what the president is trying to orchestrate?
The White House has never gotten serious about tackling the serious issues our nation faces — not without tax hikes — and I don’t think they ever will. The path forward, I believe, is that we pull together as a team behind a new measure that has a shot at getting to the president’s desk. It’s won’t be Cut, Cap & Balance as we passed it, but it should be a package that reflects the principles of Cut, Cap & Balance. We’re committed to working with you — and with our Republican colleagues in the Senate — to get it done. No one is willing to default on the full faith and credit of the United States.
And I think the leaders in both parties and both houses of Congress already agree that we need significant reductions. But if we stick together, I think we can win this for the American people . . . because I do think there is a path. But it’s gonna require us to stand together as a team. It’s gonna require some of you to make some sacrifices. If we stand together as a team, our leverage is maximized, and they have to deal with us. If we’re divided, our leverage gets minimized.
Before I close, let me thank all of you for your patience, and for your confidence, and for your commitment to our country. We’re doing the right thing, and you all know that the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
That suggests to me that the House Republicans will pass a bill, send it to the Senate and let the Democrats decide if they want to send the country into default.
UPDATE (5:41 p.m.): A call participant gives me an account of what other leaders said during the call. From House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.): “Thanks to the speaker for patience in working with the administration. We are where we are because the president and his party do not want to cut anywhere close to what we do without raising taxes on people and small biz — that has been the problem at each turn. The president’s position of forcing us to give him a debt limit increase through the election is purely political and indefensible. He cannot sustain or defend putting politics above the country’s interests in this situation. Let me tell you, though, he has the microphone. The only way to overcome him is to remain united and insist that every dollar the debt limit is increased, we have equal or more dollars in spending cuts without ANY tax hikes.Thank you all for your patience. It’s a fluid situation — and let’s stay united. We can do this.” And from Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.): “You see the battle the speaker is in. The president is throwing a fit because he’s worried about the election. He doesn’t want cuts, he wants increases. He lost his cool the other night because he knows he won’t get what he wants if we remain united.”