John Boehner’s plan to avoid a government shutdown in eight days doesn’t have enough Republican votes to pass, so the Speaker will have to beg Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats to bail him out.
At the beginning of the day, GOP leadership thought they had it all figured out. They’d give conservatives a separate bill to direct their anger at President Barack Obama over his executive action on immigration, then vote separately to fund most of the government for a year.
But as key leadership aides and lawmakers circled the House floor Tuesday afternoon, they encountered unexpected “headwinds,” several sources said. Hardline conservatives who have caused problems for leaders for years were not falling in line. These conservatives estimate their ranks are 30 to 40, enough to derail a vote.
That swelling Republican opposition gives Pelosi and her down-in-the-dumps House Democrats some unexpected power: the ability to rescue Boehner’s Republican Conference as Democrats have again and again in the big fights of the past three years.
What this means is that Boehner can’t pass his bill to keep the government open unless Democrats help him. If Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats refuse to bail out Speaker Boehner, the Republicans will be forced to pass a short-term funding bill that will set up a government shutdown showdown with President Obama early next year.
Speaker Boehner and incoming Majority Leader McConnell wanted the government to funded through September 2015 so that they could focus on their legislative agenda after the Republicans takeover the Senate. Instead, Republicans appear to be heading for a months long potential government shutdown quagmire.
Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi has not said that she will support Boehner’s bill. Many expect her to oppose it, and force Boehner to find his way out of the mess that he created. Democrats learned long ago to stop throwing John Boehner lifelines.
House Republicans are imploding, and sooner or later their behavior will result in another government shutdown.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association