Aides to Republican members of Congress tell Capitol Hill Blue that they have the votes necessary to combine with Democrats to pass a proposed deal from the Senate that would reopen the government and stave off a debt default on Thursday but say that Speaker John Boehner is resisting bringing the measure to the floor if it comes over from the other body.
“Boehner is afraid of the hard-core conservative bloc that would rather see the government stay closed and do into default rather than pass a clean bill that would fund the government through January of next year and extend the Department of the Treasury’s borrowing authority until February,” a key House aide said early Tuesday afternoon.
Boehner’s announcement of a rival House plan that adds back restrictions on Obamacare brought negotiations to a halt on the Senate side when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stopped negotiating with Majority Leader Harry Reid, saying he wanted to see if the House could pass the plan.
But Republicans in the House emerged from an hour-long closed door meeting Tuesday with no consensus on the House and a deal that was expected with so much optimism earlier in the day evaporated into a sea of partisan waves.
Spokesmen for both Reid and McConnell said they expected their bosses to start negotiating again Tuesday night if the House failed to act on the Boehner proposal but such a delay would push settlement until sometime Wednesday — dangerously close the the midnight Wednesday deadline when the government could default on its debt obligations.
White House spokesman Jay Carney retreated from the earlier optimism Wednesday and said the two sides are “far from a deal” on the issues that keep the government closed and default looking.
“We’re encouraged by the progress we seen in the Senate, but we’re far from a deal at this point,” Carney said.