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The Republicans seem to have finally developed a strategy beyond shutting everything down and hoping the Democrats completely cave. The strategy appears to be to take the debt default off the table, at least momentarily, so they can double down on the shutdown.

GOP aides say House Speaker John Boehner will ask House Republicans to approve a short-term extension of the government’s ability to borrow to meet its bills. The Ohio Republican is slated to urge his staunchly conservative GOP colleagues to act before the government runs out of borrowing authority next week.

The threat of default may have proved to be too severe for even House Republicans. But if that is true then prospects could be even worse for ending the shutdown anytime soon and especially ending it with a “clean CR.” Raising the debt ceiling would be a compromise vote for House Republicans who could claim they sacrificed their debt ceiling leverage in exchange for demands on the budget.

Many House Republicans, including some key leaders, have decided they can live with a government shutdown but not with the threat of default. In the hours ahead, look for the GOP to seek a deal with President Obama and Democrats on at least a short-term increase in the debt limit, while standing firm on their requirement that a continuing resolution to fund the government must contain some significant measure to limit Obamacare. The bottom line: Republicans have discovered the world did not end when shutdown became a reality — but they’re not willing to risk it with the debt ceiling.

But will the strategy work? Passing the debt ceiling will certainly ease some of the public pressure. The GOP’s poll numbers are dropping hard as they appear increasingly deranged, so passing the debt ceiling could help their image. Still, the notion that Obamacare is up for debate has been given little support by the Democrats whose only offering was to discuss repealing the medical device tax.

While the debt default may be getting resolved we have a long way to go to ending this shutdown.

Photo by Nyks under Creative Commons license.