House Republicans are forgoing a plan to tie a debt-ceiling increase to a restoration of military pension benefits and will instead try to pass a "clean" increase without policy strings attached on Wednesday, a source confirmed to Business Insider.
House Republican leaders told the conference in a meeting Tuesday morning.
"House Republican leaders told Members this morning that it is clear the paid-for military COLA provision will not attract enough support, so we will be bringing up a ‘clean’ debt limit bill tomorrow," a source in the room told Business Insider.
GOP leaders had struggled to get enough support for their latest debt-ceiling plan. It ran into staunch opposition from conservatives, who have for the last few years framed the raising the debt ceiling as a debate over curbing long-term spending.
House Speaker John Boehner will bring a "clean" hike to the floor and let it pass with mostly Democratic support.
"Boehner made clear the GOP would provide the requisite number of Republican votes for the measure but that Democrats will be expected to carry the vote," the source said.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, Boehner said he'd vote for the "clean" hike. But he suggested it might be tough to find 17 other Republicans to vote for the measure. If all Democrats vote for the increase, the legislation would need 18 Republican votes in total to pass the House.
"We're going to have to find them. I'll be one of them," Boehner said.
Leadership felt that the legislation tied to military pensions gave it the best chance of passing something with a mix of Republican and Democratic votes. But Democrats, while not outwardly dismissing the legislation Monday night, continued to say they preferred a "clean" hike.
And conservatives sharply pushed back on the pension measure because it increases spending. Over the past three years, Republicans have framed raising the debt ceiling as a debate over curbing long-term spending.
The predictable "clean" solution brings to an end a debate that mostly existed within the Republican conference. House Republicans came out of their annual retreat pushing a strategy with such options as repealing an Affordable Care Act provision or Keystone XL Pipeline approval in exchange for a debt-ceiling hike. Neither of those options, however, gained enough support within the Republican caucus.
Republicans' last two options included the possibility of attaching a Medicare "doc fix" and/or the military pension restoration to the debt-ceiling legislation. In the end, Republican leaders determined that they couldn't garner enough support for either of those two options.
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