(Wall Street Journal) Senior Republicans in Congress, frustrated over their inability to strike a deal to reopen the government, began shifting from their drive to undercut the 2010 health-care law, which has been the central element of the dispute, toward a broader budget deal.

The new focus comes as Congress is beginning to confront the need to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, which the Treasury said must be done this month in order to pay the nation’s obligations. With federal agencies largely shuttered for a third day, some GOP lawmakers were exploring whether the political stalemate over funding the government could best be resolved by crafting a broader fiscal package that would include an increase in the debt ceiling.

House Speaker John Boehner, (R., Ohio), on Thursday signaled he would follow that course. He told a group of his closest allies over lunch that he doesn’t want to broker a deal to fund federal agencies and reopen the government only to face an immediate negotiation over raising the debt ceiling, participants said. The speaker expressed optimism at the lunch that he might be able to combine the two issues to embark on broader budget negotiations with the White House and Senate Democrats.

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