John Boehner moved to lop one head off of Washington's two-headed fiscal crisis today, announcing that House GOP leadership would agree to pass a short-term debt ceiling increase—while continuing to push for concessions from Democrats to end the government shutdown. "We can't fight on two fronts," Boehner told his troops in a meeting this morning, Politico reports. Indeed, the only thing Boehner is demanding in exchange for the debt increase is that the House and Senate appoint conferees to work on a budget deal.
The House bill would also include language forbidding the Treasury from exercising "extraordinary measures" to avoid a default. But a White House official said the plan is unlikely to accomplish much, because Democrats wouldn't agree to negotiate until the government reopens. "The president has made clear that he will not pay a ransom for Congress doing its job," he said. Boehner's plan would also only lift the debt ceiling until just before Thanksgiving recess; Democrats want a deal that extends through 2014. The proposal is one of several that Republicans have been floating before today's planned meeting with President Obama. Boehner said he welcomed that meeting, CNN reports. (Read more John Boehner stories.)