Speaker John Boehner is considering letting the House take the initial vote Wednesday on a Senate-prepared bill to lift the debt ceiling and restart funding for the shuttered federal government -- apparently even if House conservatives object.
If they do object, it would mean Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her House Democrats could become critical to its passage.
"Boehner will need Pelosi votes," said one senior Democratic aide, familiar with what he described as the cross-party negotiations that have been occurring Wednesday morning. "Not sure she'll give them, but I imagine she will."
Boehner's office had no comment. But the senior aide said House Democratic leaders already have been meeting Wednesday morning to discuss what to do.
Such a move by Boehner, if he decides to make it, would come as the administration's Thursday deadline for hiking the nation's $16.7 trillion borrowing cap is less than 24 hours away.
According to the aide, Boehner and the House would act first on Wednesday on a bill put together overnight in the Senate, will extend the debt limit until Feb. 7, and include a continuing resolution until Jan. 15, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
The deal would also include a Dec. 15 deadline for a budget conference report, as well as an anti-fraud provision designed to verify income for those who receive subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
The Senate would then take up the bill.
And because the House had taken up the bill first, its procedures would require then just one cloture vote. If the Senate were to first act on the bill on Wednesday, Republican hard-liners could object, and parliamentary rules could push final action to Friday or Saturday, instead.
Then, upon passage, the bill could be sent to the president for signing.
Senate leaders, according to the aide, are expected to come to terms with its plan at about 10 a.m.. The House is set to reconvene at about noon.