"I think we're still looking for the pieces to this puzzle," he said. "But listen, we do not want to default on our debt and we're not going to default on our debt. We're in discussions with members on how to move ahead, we've got time to do this. No decisions have been made."So the idea they're now kicking around is to do something Democrats also want done, repealing the small cut to military pensions as part of the budget deal Congress just completed. Even though this is something that Democrats want, Boehner seems to think this will jam up Senate Democrats. Since Senate Democrats and President Obama have insisted all along on a clean bill, he might be thinking attaching a popular amendment would make life difficult for Democrats politically. The problem in that thinking is that to follow it all the way through, he'd have to insist that the House will only act to reverse these unpopular cost of living cuts in conjunction with the debt ceiling. That's just an invitation to the Senate to strip this out of the House bill, pass a clean debt ceiling hike and force the House to also pass a clean bill—which Boehner has admitted they'll do—and then bring up the cost of living adjustment in another bill.
Boehner's also got a problem with this approach in that the whole point of fighting the debt ceiling hike is to make a point on debt and deficits. But reversing this cost of living cut will increase the deficit by about $5.6 billion over 10 years. So he'll have to find somewhere else to make those cuts, since he's always argued that a debt ceiling increase would have to be offset by spending cuts.
In other words, he's still floundering, and this time doesn't even seem to by trying to pretend otherwise.