Boehner: 'Maybe 50-50' Chance of Imminent Debt Deal

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Some Republicans see even better odds of an agreement with the White House

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday informed fellow House Republicans that the chances of congressional leaders and President Obama reaching a tentative debt-ceiling deal within 48 hours is "maybe 50-50."

That prognosis from Boehner was described by several House Republicans as they left a morning briefing with the speaker -- and it was later confirmed by a GOP leadership aide. Boehner and other Republican and Democratic congressional leaders are set to continue negotiations at the White House Thursday on a deal to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

"I get the impression that it's better than 50-50," said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). "It will be agreed upon in the next 48 hours, if not, it won't be for a long time."

In a separate interview, freshman Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) also said that he came away from the meeting believing a deal in the next 48 hours is "50-50."

But if not, he said, there was a sense relayed that negotiations could come unglued. "It will get done quickly, or not for a long time," said Long.

They and other Republicans, such as Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), said few specifics were unveiled to them during the conference meeting, although they said Boehner did reiterate that Republicans "aren't interested in raising taxes."

Franks, who is one of the most conservative members in the House, said that he understands the squeeze in which Boehner finds himself, having to negotiate such a deal with the president and Democratic leaders, while also having to contend with the demands inside his conference.

But Franks said it is his understanding there are clear indications a proposed deal was in the works, and that, "I got the sense that this July 18 work period (recess) that members should carefully consider their scheduling, for signs of flexibility."

Image credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Drop-down image credit: AP

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Billy House

Bill House is a staff writer (Congress) for National Journal.

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