By Molly K. Hooper - 07/14/11 03:07 PM EDT
House conservatives will introduce a “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill that would tie any increase of the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling to passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.
House Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Andy Harris (R-Md.) met on Wednesday to discuss the measure, a source close to the talks told The Hill.
Support among Republicans for a balanced budget amendment has been growing, though it would appear to face a tough climb in the Senate. House GOP leaders in recent days appear to have warmed toward the legislation, and Jordan said leadership was aware of his group's discussions.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told The Hill on Wednesday that leadership has not ruled out introducing a GOP plan to raise the debt ceiling, should negotiations with the White House fail to produce a deal.
A leadership aide, however, told The Hill that, at this point, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) were focused solely on negotiations at the White House — even though those discussions seemed to hit a wall late Wednesday afternoon.
Both parties will meet again on Thursday to resume their talks.
Veteran GOP Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.) was skeptical of any group attempting to go around leadership to produce stand-alone plans while negotiations continue with the president.
“We can’t have a situation where somebody comes up with a bright idea in a backroom — it would have to be embraced by leadership,” Cole told The Hill.
“At the end of the day, little groups of members can’t impose their will on the entire conference — nobody can impose, that’s a leadership function,” Cole added.