Speaker John Boehner fell short of his goal to present a framework for a debt ceiling deal to his Conference on Sunday afternoon, instead telling the rank and file that they will get more information Monday.
“When you get to town tomorrow, we’ll have more detail for you,” the Ohio Republican told Members during an afternoon conference call, according to a source familiar with the call. “We’re doing the right thing; you all know the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing to do.”
With Asian markets slowly opening Sunday evening Washington time, neither Democrats nor Republicans appeared willing to make any significant concessions to find a bipartisan deal. Boehner and White House officials alike had warned that failure to reach a deal Sunday could send those markets into a panic, with potentially devastating effects on the U.S. and world economies.
Once it became clear that it would not be able to announce anything definitive, House leadership began to downplay the absence of a deal. Brad Dayspring, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), posted on Twitter Sunday afternoon: “Note: There are 9 days before Aug 2. For those talking about Asian Markets, would recommend not stoking fear/concern. Work is being done.”
House GOP leaders urged Members during the afternoon conference call to remain united in their demand for cuts to domestic spending and entitlements, arguing that unity will help them defeat President Barack Obama. They also sought to ease any concerns that Boehner might still be seeking to cut a massive deal with Obama.
“There are no secret negotiations going on. So don’t worry,” Boehner told his members, according to the source. “The path forward is not an agreement between me and the president. The path forward will be a measure that we can stick together on that can reach the president’s desk.”
Boehner did acknowledge that the Cut, Cap and Balance proposal is off the table because of Senate opposition. He said the GOP needs to focus on “what can we pass to protect the country from what the president is trying to do,” the source added.
In a not-so-veiled warning to conservatives who oppose compromise with the administration, the GOP leader warned that such a deal “will require some of you to make sacrifices. If we stand together, our leverage is maximized and they have to deal with us.”
Cantor praised Boehner’s handling of the negotiations and called Obama’s demand for a debt limit that will run past next year’s election “purely political and indefensible.” Cantor also said that because Obama controls the bully pulpit, “the only way to overcome him is to remain united.”
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took a hard shot at Obama as well, telling lawmakers: “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.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.