Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans this afternoon that the GOP’s upcoming budget will balance the federal books in a decade.
Due to the Democrats’ control of the White House and Senate, the possibility of that promise becoming law is remote. But the speaker’s vocal support for the idea reportedly drew cheers within the House Republican conference.
According to sources in the room, Boehner made the pledge at a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement. The speaker said that Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the budget committee chairman, will lead the effort.
Boehner’s commitment is a signal to conservatives that the speaker is listening to their demands. Behind the scenes, backbenchers have been pushing Boehner and Eric Cantor, the majority leader, to endorse a 10-year balanced budget.
On Wednesday, insiders say, most Republican lawmakers will begrudgingly back a three-month extension of the debt limit. But before Boehner could finalize the whip count, he needed to make this fiscal assurance in return.