A new report by the New York Times says House Speaker John Boehner told fellow lawmakers he's willing to allow legislation to come to the House floor that would raise the nation's debt limit yet again, even if a majority of House Republicans oppose such a measure.
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 02: U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to the media after a meeting at the White House with U.S. Credit: Getty Images
That move would violate the longstanding Hastert rule, an unwritten policy that says the Speaker will not allow legislation on the floor that is not supported by a majority of the party in power.
Should such legislation come to the floor, it would require only a small number of Republicans to cross the aisle and join Democrats in voting for and passing it.
“Hurricane Sandy, the fiscal cliff, all of the big votes require reasonable Republicans and Democrats to come together in order to pass it and get it to the president’s desk,” Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) told the Times. “This will be no different.”
Rep.Leonard Lance (R-NJ) met with Boehner on Wednesday. And while he wouldn't provide details of the meeting to the Times, he did hint at such a move.
“The speaker of the House does not want to default on the debt on the United States," he said, "and I believe he believes in Congress as an institution, and I certainly believe he is working for the best interests of the American people.”
As for Boehner's camp, they seemed to dodge the question but leave the door open.
“The speaker has always been clear that a default would be disastrous for our economy,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told the Times. “He’s also been clear that a ‘clean’ debt hike cannot pass the House."
That last part of the quote references recent reports that over 20 Republicans have signaled support for a "clean" continuing resolution that fully funds both Obamacare and the federal government. That means while Boehner may be willing to cave on the debt limit, he's not willing to give up the fight to defund Obamacare that has recently led to a government shutdown.
"That’s why the president and Senate Democrats should drop their ‘no negotiations’ stance, and work with us on a plan to raise the debt limit in a responsible way, with spending cuts and reforms to get our economy moving again and create jobs," Steel added.