Congressman and former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told reporters that he and fellow House Republicans are considering a short-term debt limit extension until March in order to avoid shutting down the government.
“We’re discussing the possible virtue of a short-term debt-limit extension so that we have a better chance of getting the Senate and White House involved in discussions in March,” Ryan said.
It’s the first official notice that House Republican leadership is considering cutting a deal rather than pressing for immense spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski hinted that her colleagues were shying away from debt ceiling threats earlier this week. “If you incur an obligation, you have a responsibility to pay for that,” Murkowski said in an interview.
Sen. Susan Collins expressed a similar sentiment to the Washington Post, saying she “recognizes that the debt ceiling is going to have to be raised because the U.S. cannot default on its obligations to pay for spending that has already occurred.”
It’s a big change from what Republican leaders wanted as recently as Sunday, when aides told Politico that “more than half” of House Republicans were prepared to shut down the government if they didn’t get their way.
Even Vice President Joe Biden predicted the impending deal. During an address to the U.S. Conference of Mayors earlier Thursday he said expects “cooler heads will prevail” and Congress will reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default.
What’s changed since Sunday? Perhaps they caught wind of the polling that showed most Americans don’t support using the debt ceiling as a leverage tool to make spending cuts. A Washington Post poll released yesterday found only 36% of Americans thought raising the debt ceiling should be tied to spending cuts, while 58% saw them as separate issues.