The United States government is expected to hit the debt ceiling in less than two weeks, and Senate Democrats have said they're ready to raise it with a "clean" bill to avoid default on the national debt. Reports that Senate Republicans would consider supporting such a bill began to roll in on Monday.
Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have all floated the idea of voting for a clean debt limit increase, according to reports by Politico, ABC News and Public Radio International:
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) says he'd vote for a clean debt ceiling increase and vote for cloture, making him the first R to say so
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 7, 2013
Democrats will need 6 GOP votes to stop filibuster on debt ceiling. McCain says he may be one, but: "I want to see what the dynamic is."
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) October 7, 2013
Sen Murkowski (R-AK), would you vote to proceed to a clean debt limit bill? "I want to proceed on anything."
— Todd Zwillich (@toddzwillich) October 7, 2013
Though these Republicans seem willing to meet Democrats in the middle, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has made clear that the House won't budge.
"We're not going to pass a clean debt limit increase," Boehner said on Sunday. "I told the president there's no way we're going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit, and the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us."
Also on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned that it would be "dangerous" and "reckless" for Congress to allow Oct. 17 to pass without raising the debt limit, noting that a default would be a first for the U.S. government.
"If they don't extend the debt limit," Lew said, "we have a very, very short window of time before those scenarios start to be played out."