Boehner’s Office a Popular Destination for Senate Republicans Friday

Posted October 11, 2013 at 6:34pm

Republican senators shuttled in and out of the office of Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio late Friday, in an apparent bid to figure out what was going on across the Capitol Dome.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas were among those making the short trip as talks continued about finding a solution to prevent a default on federal debt and reopen the government.

Cornyn said the meeting in the speaker’s office yielded “no result” but said it was an opportunity for Senate and House Republicans to “compare notes” about the ongoing talks.

“If anybody tells you they know, I think that they’re probably not being completely straight with you,” Cornyn said when asked how this will all play out in the coming days.

“The one thing I can say tomorrow morning is we’re likely to defeat a clean debt ceiling increase,” Cornyn said.

Before Cornyn’s appearance, Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina could be seen making their own trip between the office suites of Boehner and McConnell.

“Good leaders have an open dialogue with both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol,” Chambliss said after leaving McConnell’s part of the complex. “I think that’s what you’ve seen.”

Neither of the two Republicans would predict which chamber might move first on any final deal.

“I think the House going first would be the best thing,” Graham said.

“Logically the House would go first,” Chambliss added. “But I don’t know whether that will happen or not.”

Chambliss’ home state colleague Johnny Isakson, also a Republican, said that the House not formally bringing up a six-week debt ceiling extension would be a sign the Senate needs to act first.

“The House has not come forward with the six-week extension on the debt ceiling … I think probably in the window of the next few days we’ll probably, you’ll see something come out of the Senate,” he said. “We can’t just continue to do nothing.”

“I think there’s a sentiment that six weeks doesn’t make a lot of sense because then all you’re doing is putting the same problem off for six weeks, and then you’ve got the Thanksgiving cliff. This is the Halloween cliff, so we might as well stop having so many cliffs and try and find an agreement,” Isakson added.

As reported Thursday, Senate Republicans have been openly skeptical of the floated House stopgap plan, favoring a measure that combines a debt ceiling increase and a continuing resolution over a longer term.