‘Some conservatives oppose raising the debt ceiling under any circumstance, while Democrats have made it clear they would vote against any measure that attached other provisions to increasing the borrowing limit.
Boehner needs at least 18 Republicans to join the expected unanimous Democratic support for a "clean" debt ceiling measure in a vote expected as soon as Wednesday. Otherwise, there could be another protracted political impasse despised by voters.
Asked Tuesday if he had the 18 GOP votes, Boehner said: "We're going to have to find them. I'll be one of them."
However, some Republicans immediately balked at the shift by their leader, saying they would oppose a debt ceiling measure that lacked additional provisions they sought.
Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina said she would vote against the clean proposal and that GOP leaders might be forced to go back to their original plan. Boehner ally Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, an influential House Republican, said he was undecided on how to vote on a clean measure.
Republicans facing pressure from conservatives ahead of the November vote are reluctant to back an increase in the borrowing limit, a core issue for the political right because it represents rising federal debt.
Boehner sought to put the blame for a clean debt ceiling bill on Obama, saying the rising federal debt was the President's fault.
"It's the President driving up the debt and the President wanted to do nothing about the debt that's occurring, will not engage in our long-term spending problem," Boehner said. "And so, let his party give him the debt ceiling increase that he wants."
At the same time, Boehner declared himself disappointed at what he called a "lost opportunity" to address unsustainable federal spending.
Asked by CNN about the reported GOP reversal, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said it would be "the smart thing to do."’