Senate Republicans forged ahead on an alternative of their own that would ease both the debt-limit and shutdown crises at once. Officials said that it would require Obama to agree to some relatively modest changes to the health care law that stands as his signature domestic achievement.
Some tea party-aligned lawmakers claimed partial credit for the GOP retreat, casting it as a way of finessing one problem so they could quickly resume their own campaign to deny operating funds for the national health care overhaul known as "Obamacare."
Ironically, Boehner's plan stirred grumbling among relatively moderate Republicans who said the shutdown should end, but little if any unhappiness among the staunch conservatives who often part company with party leaders.
One Republican said he and fellow tea party allies deserved at least partial recognition for the plan that would raise the debt limit without reopening the government.
"I actually went to (Majority Leader) Eric Cantor a couple days ago and I proposed this. I said, 'You're going to think this is crazy but I, as a conservative, would be willing to vote for a debt ceiling for six weeks.," said Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho.
Republicans also were ready to claim victory on another front, noting that they were now in negotiations with the president, who had said repeatedly there would be none until the government was open and default prevented.
For his part, Reid has proposed no-strings-attached legislation to raise the debt limit by $1.1 trillion, enough to prevent a recurrence of the current standoff until after the 2014 elections.
In remarks on the Senate floor during the day, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP leader, said that Democratic measure "just won't fly. ... The American people can be persuaded to raise the debt ceiling, but they're not in any mood to simply hand over a blank check."
Since the current standoff began more than two weeks ago, Republican demands have shifted continuously, while the president's position has remained essentially unchanged.
The shutdown began on Oct. 1 after Obama ruled out any concessions that would defund, delay or otherwise change the new health care law. He said he would be willing to negotiate on a range of issues, but only after the shutdown was ended and the debt limit raised.
Republicans drafted a long list of demands to accompany any increase in the debt limit, including some that would raise the cost of Medicare for better-off beneficiaries, make changes to the health care law and roll back several environmental regulations either issued or in the planning stages by the administration.
In recent days, the focus has shifted from the shutdown to the threat of default, and Republicans have spoken less and less frequently about insisting on concessions in the health care law.
The call for negotiations on long-term deficit cuts would mark a return to basics for the House Republican majority.
Shortly after taking control in 2011, the rank and file initiated a series of demands to cut spending, culminating in an agreement with Obama that cut more than $2 trillion over a decade.
After four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the 2013 shortfall is expected to register below $700 billion.
At the same time, the nation's debt rises inexorably. It was $10.6 trillion when Obama took office during the worst recession in decades, and has grown by $6.1 trillion in the years since.