House Republican leaders, who signaled they would push for conditions in return for raising the debt limit, have discarded two leading ideas.
One would require approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the second would repeal an Affordable Care Act provision that helps insurance companies, according to two senior House GOP leadership aides.
House Speaker John Boehner and other leaders have been telling their rank and file members they would attach GOP priorities to a debt bill if it would garner 218 GOP votes -- enough to pass in the House without Democratic votes.
But after canvassing House Republicans, neither the pipeline nor the ACA proposals had sufficient support.
Many Republicans are opposed to raising the debt ceiling, which would allow the government to borrow more money to pay its bills, regardless of what conditions are included.
President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats insist they want a clean measure and won't negotiate on raising the debt ceiling.
It's unclear now what House GOP leaders will do.
There is a divide within GOP ranks about whether it's even worth having a big fight over an issue that could risk economic and political fallout in a midterm election year.
At a forum for House Republicans on Wednesday, Rep Raul Labrador of Idaho recommended that Boehner go ahead and put a "clean" bill on the House floor.
After congressional Republicans took a lot of the blame for last October's government shutdown, Labrador concedes the GOP can't win a fight on the debt issue.
He said he would still vote against the bill and that "Democrats can own it"
But many conservatives still want to demand some type of spending or budget conditions in exchange for their votes.
"I don't advocate some sort of scorched-earth process, but I do advocate that let's come up with some commonsense structural reforms," Texas Republican Joe Barton said, adding "a clean debt ceiling, I think, is capitulation."
House GOP leaders are unlikely to come up with a strategy this week. There is another meeting to discuss the issue next week.
Boehner has made it clear that he will not allow a default on the nation's debt.
With no consensus on a strategy and a deadline approaching, it's more likely the speaker will simply allow a vote on a "clean" debt bill.
The government effectively hits the debt ceiling on Friday, but the Treasury Department has some payment flexibility through accounting maneuvers for an additional month or so.
After that, it would rely solely on whatever cash on hand it has plus incoming tax revenue to meet obligations. But that would be insufficient to make all payments, raising the risk of default.
Republicans and Democrats have waged pitched political battles over spending and debt over the past two years.
More Americans would blame Republicans in Congress than President Barack Obama if the nation's debt ceiling is not raised, according to a new national poll.
The release of the CNN/ORC International survey on Monday came as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew issued yet another public warning to Congress to act quickly to extend the nation's borrowing authority.
Fifty-four percent of those questioned say they would blame the GOP in Congress if the debt ceiling isn't raised, with 29 percent saying they'd hold the president more responsible.