“All that really matters is what my district wants,” Massie said. “And my district is overwhelmingly in favor of my position.”
Upon returning to Washington after a long weekend at home, Boehner and his leadership team met for an hour Tuesday afternoon in the Capitol. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement that no decisions about strategy “have been made, or will be made, until House Republican members meet and talk tomorrow” morning.
But other participants in the meeting said it became clear that a government-funding plan unveiled last week by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), which would have avoided a showdown over Obamacare, could not rally enough GOP votes.
“It was not [well] received in the conference,” said Rep. Steve Southerland II (R-Fla.), who attended Tuesday’s meeting representing the massive freshman class of Republicans elected in 2010. Instead, Southerland said, GOP leaders were leaning toward satisfying their right wing, fully aware that such a move would invite rejection in the Senate.
The Senate, then, would be likely to respond with its own funding plan that jettisoned the anti-Obamacare provisions. Senate Democrats could also make other changes, such as rolling back some of the automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, that Republicans view as their most significant recent legislative achievement.
That would leave the House to make an eleventh-hour decision: Swallow the Senate’s changes or shut the government down.
“I wouldn’t stow away our ping-pong paddles,” Southerland quipped grimly.
As the wrangling continued, people in both parties worried that House Republicans would prove unable to unite around any strategy, leaving the nation’s fiscal well-being at risk.