Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid claims Boehner broke his word, that he didn’t want a protracted fight over the health-care law, but instead wanted Democrats to agree to Republicans number for a continuing resolution. “I know that that’s not the path he preferred,” Reid said, per The Hill on the current course Boehner’s taking. “I know that because we met the first week we came back in September and he told me that what he wanted was a clean CR and the $988 [billion] number. “We didn’t like the 988 number. We didn’t like it but we negotiated. That was our compromise. The exact bill that he now refuses to let the House vote on. That was our negotiation.”
Politico: “Speaker John Boehner told a small group of his closest congressional allies Thursday afternoon that he planned to use the upcoming confluence of the debt ceiling and continuing resolution to get a large-scale budget deal. He just doesn’t know how he’s going to do it.”
More: “The speaker told those gathered that changes to Obamacare should be “part” of the party’s budgetary message, according to those gathered. There is fear inside leadership that if they don’t talk about the Affordable Care Act, conservative lawmakers will accuse them of abandoning the party’s pledge to defang the law. But it’s clear Boehner is aiming beyond Obamacare to entitlements and a rewrite of the Tax Code.” And: “The speaker did not think this shutdown is ending anytime soon, according to people present. Asked by a colleague if Republicans could last two weeks in this difficult political climate, Boehner said he was not sure.”
Roll Call also reports that Boehner’s pursuing another “grand bargain” and optimistically notes, “This time could be different — if Boehner is willing to buck the tea party wing of the House GOP conference.”
The Hill: “House Republicans are gathering Friday to debate what their ask will be in the merging fights over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. While Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has indicated he won’t be dictating strategy, members are clearly looking to him for direction as the shutdown enters its fourth day. … House Republicans are in agreement that the White House and Senate Democrats must negotiate with them on reopening the government and avoiding a potentially historic default. But with the deadline for raising the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit less than two weeks away, they also admit they are forging ahead without a clear endgame in mind.”
And this quote from Boehner ally Mike Simpson of Idaho: “Everybody's tried to envision one [an end game], but nobody has it yet. Honestly, I don't know what we're going to do.”
Tim Alberta: “At this historic moment of deep partisan division on the Hill, House Republicans are more unified than they have been in recent memory. This solidarity bodes well for Boehner and his speakership, but it portends a protracted shutdown that is unlikely to end until Democrats somehow offer something acceptable to the conservative majority in the House GOP.”
That said… New York Times' Jonathan Martin: "The hard-line stance of Republican House members on the government shutdown is generating increasing anger among senior Republican officials, who say the small bloc of conservatives is undermining the party and helping President Obama just as the American people appeared to be losing confidence in him. From statehouses to Capitol Hill, frustration is building and spilling out during closed-door meetings as Republicans press leaders of the effort to block funding for the health care law to explain where their strategy is ultimately leading."