Following press reports that he is considering passing a debt ceiling bill with the help of Democratic votes, Speaker John Boehner assured his colleagues in a closed-door meeting that his insistence the government will not default doesn’t mean he won’t fight for spending cuts and other reforms in the bill that raises the debt ceiling.
“We are not going to default on the U.S. debt. We never have, we never will. If anybody defaults it’ll be the president who doesn’t write the check. But the speaker was very clear today that, while we’re not going to default, but there will be a negotiation. Even though the president says there will not be, there will be,” said Representative Phil Roe of Tennessee.
Boehner argued “the media is wrong,” said Representative John Fleming of Lousiana, and that Boehner’s insistence that the government will not default on its debts “shouldn’t be misconstrued as saying we’re not going to challenge Democrats in that debate.”
In the meeting, rank-and-file members expressed anger at President Obama over steps he has taken to, in their view, exacerbate the impact of the shutdown for ordinary people.
And, while some moderates continue their push for a “clean” funding bill, most Republicans continue to express confidence in their political position, on Day Four of the shutdown.
“When you consider the fact that the Democrats’ position is they don’t want to talk to us, I don’t know what better footing we could have as Republicans,” said Representative Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma.
“The longer this goes on, the more educated the general public will be, the better understanding they will have, and the more they will agree that what we’re doing is fighting to protect America from an insolvency and bankruptcy that those who are financially irresponsible in Washington seem not to care one twit about,” said Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama.
“I don’t think that many of my constituents even know that there is a shutdown – or even care,” added Fleming.