This is the big chip I've been waiting to see fall into place:
"I don't want to go to [McConnell's plan] yet. I'm not trying to evade it, but I want to cut spending, and I don't want to give up on spending cuts. Because if I start saying 'yeah, I'll take [the McConnell deal],' then we're giving up on spending cuts. I'm not a fan of the idea. I understand the merits -- the pros and cons -- of the idea. It has a fairly cool reception around here. But I want to get as many spending cuts as I can."
Sounds like he wants to hold out but is waiting for the inevitable.
I wonder -- pure speculation alert -- if the friction between John Boehner and Eric Cantor is a huge part of the House GOP's paralysis. Suppose both Boehner and Cantor understand that they're going to wind up just passing a clean debt ceiling increase, and suppose they both realize doing it the Mitch McConnell way is better than doing it hastily on August 3rd. What's keeping them?
Well, if you're Boehner, you probably know that pitching your caucus on a debt ceiling hike without spending cuts will go over very badly with ultra-conservatives. If you're Cantor, you know that, too. So Cantor would want Boehner to take the fall, but Boehner would want to wait until cantor supports him, which Cantor has no incentive to do. Indeed, if I'm Cantor, I want to stick Boehner with full responsibility for an outcome that, even under the best scenario (a deal with Obama to cut spending by a lot), is going to strike most Republicans as a bitter betrayal.