The federal government may not be hit with a double whammy on top of the ongoing shutdown, as House Speaker John Boehner told a group of fellow GOP legislators that he won’t let the nation default on its debt, according to a House Republican.
Boehner said that he’d set aside the “Hastert Rule” — that Republicans would only bring measures up for a vote if they are backed by a majority of their caucus — and rely on Democrats to pass a measure to raise the nation’s debt limit, said the House member. This legislator attended a meeting Wednesday involving Boehner, but requested anonymity because that gathering was private.
Congressional Republicans remain divided on how to structure legislation to raise the government’s borrowing level. And an aide to the House speaker downplayed the development, saying, “Boehner has always said the United States will not default on its debt, so that’s not news.”
Still, at least one Democrat — Sen. Charles Schumer of New York — cheered the prospect of the GOP leader refusing to block at least this measure that President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats strongly support.
“This could be the beginnings of a significant breakthrough,” Schumer said in a statement. “Even coming close to the edge of default is very dangerous, and putting this issue to rest significantly ahead of the default date would allow everyone in the country to breathe a huge sigh of relief.”