Republicans appear to be willing to avoid a showdown over the debt limit and instead use the sequester as their main negotiating lever in upcoming fiscal fights with the White House and Senate Democrats.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Republicans at a closed-door retreat in Williamsburg were weighing a short-term increase in the country’s borrowing limit, giving all sides time to work on a broader fiscal plan in March that would include substantial spending cuts.

“Sometimes you’ve got to lay down a sacrifice bunt,” said Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida about the debt ceiling increase. He said there was a realization among his House GOP colleagues that they had to be ready to deal when negotiations began.

That strategy would represent an about-face for a Republican conference that has now repeatedly denied Speaker John Boehner the support he needed to strike compromises with Democrats.