We are going to get very close to a government shutdown — or even temporarily have one — before this funding issue is resolved. My basic conclusion from Speaker John Boehner’s announcement today is that he realizes he can’t do anything until the crisis ripens.
Last week House GOP leadership already made their best attempt to address the issue quickly while trying to let conservatives save face. It failed. There are enough House conservatives convinced this Obamacare defunding idea can work — or terrified of looking like they gave up too quickly — to pull off that strategy.
Boehner can’t yet convince those Tea Party members to back down, and if he tries to cut a deal with Democrats two weeks out from the deadline, he will be pilloried by conservatives and the base. So Boehner just needs to waste time until the deadline nears and give his Tea Party members a vote which is doomed in the Senate.
Once the deadline is truly just around the corner, Boehner should have an easier time convincing the “defund Obamacare” members their plan won’t work. Barring that, he needs to persuade the rest of his caucus to let him cut a deal with Democrats to avoid serious political damage.
Boehner needs a looming crisis for either solution, so I don’t expect anything to really happen until government shutdown is almost upon us.