Rep. Charlie Dent, who chairs the Tuesday Group Caucus, said he was behind the strategy put forth by leadership but thinks that a contingency plan needs to come together as the Aug. 2 default deadline draws closer.
“My fear is the balanced budget amendment won’t pass in both chambers, and then what? And then where’d we be?” the Pennsylvania Republican said. “We’d be on to the next plan, and so we need to look at what that alternative will be, and the House will have to pass another bill.”
Boehner also left open the door to a deal with President Barack Obama but kept up a partisan front.
“I don’t want to preclude any chance of coming to an agreement. But they’ve been unwilling to put a real plan on the table. And without serious spending cuts, without real reform of our entitlement programs, this problem is not going to be solved,” Boehner said.
He also refused to fully endorse Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) plan to allow Obama to increase the debt limit several times over the next year. McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are firming up that proposal.
“I’m not prepared at this point to pick winners or losers,” Boehner said. “Listen, Sen. McConnell pointed out his plan was being put on the table as a last-ditch effort. We’re far from the time for a last-ditch effort.”
Jessica Brady and Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.
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.