While much of Washington was enthralled by Benghazi e-mails and the IRS scandal, House Republicans began quietly planning their strategy for the next showdown over the debt limit, now thought to be at least four months away.
At a two-hour listening session Wednesday afternoon in the basement of the Capitol, rank-and-file lawmakers offered suggestions for handling an event that, in 2011, blew their approval ratings to smithereens.
The good news: This time around, most GOP lawmakers agree that they probably should not block a debt-limit increase, halt Treasury borrowing and let the government default on its obligations. According to GOP aides who attended the meeting, the “hell no” caucus appears to be radically diminished.
The bad news for President Obama: Republicans will demand some kind of prize for voting to raise the debt limit, preferably some policy that serves to reduce the debt. They say they will not simply roll over again, as they did in January when they voted without much fuss to suspend enforcement of the debt limit through this weekend.