Washington Post: "Boehner’s unyielding position on the six-week government funding bill, which the Senate passed, is a testament to the power of that conservative bloc and a concession to its members. The insurgents are now his palace guards. The speaker’s closest allies say he cannot afford to defy those on his right flank by ending the shutdown with largely Democratic votes."
But Byron York reports, as we noted in First Thoughts this week, House Speaker Boehner could get a majority of REPUBLICANS for a clean CR, but he won’t do it. "I've been trying to figure this out," says one House Republican of the current standoff over funding the government. "It seems to me that Boehner could do whatever he wants with Democrats on the floor and still get about 180 or 190 of us. So why doesn't he do that? … "I think the issue is, he's scared that those 30 people could somehow force a speaker's election," says the House Republican. "I don't know exactly, but clearly he thinks his speakership is a stake if he screws them."
Just asking, but how do you negotiate with someone who doesn’t even know what they want… Here’s Marlin Stutzman, a Republican from Indiana: “We're not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is." (H/T: Political Wire.)
Is this what Boehner’s up to? Robert Costa: “House Republicans tell me Speaker John Boehner wants to craft a “grand bargain” on fiscal issues as part of the debt-limit deliberations, and during a series of meetings on Wednesday, he urged colleagues to stick with him. The revelation came quietly. Boehner called groups of members to his Capitol office all day, taking their temperature on the shutdown and the debt limit. It became clear, members say, that Boehner’s chief goal is conference unity as the debt limit nears, and he’s looking at potentially blending a government-spending deal and debt-limit agreement into a larger budget package.”
Roll Call: “On Wednesday, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, held meetings with groups of “pragmatist” lawmakers — as Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., described them — who want to pass a policy-rider-free continuing resolution and end the government shutdown as soon as possible. Grimm said the group was ‘spitballing some ideas’ on how to pass a CR that would fund the entire government, but he indicated that any plan would probably require a number of centrists to join Democrats in voting down a routine procedural motion in an attempt to seize control of the debate and the House floor.” Of course, the last moderate GOP effort didn’t go so well.
USA Today looks at Boehner’s options.
Politico: “Ted Cruz faced a barrage of hostile questions Wednesday from angry GOP senators, who lashed the Texas tea party freshman for helping prompt a government shutdown crisis without a strategy to end it. At a closed-door lunch meeting in the Senate’s Mansfield Room, Republican after Republican pressed Cruz to explain how he would propose to end the bitter budget impasse with Democrats, according to senators who attended the meeting. A defensive Cruz had no clear plan to force an end to the shutdown — or explain how he would defund Obamacare, as he has demanded all along, sources said.”
Grover Norquist trashed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), saying he “pushed House Republicans into traffic and wandered away”: “The only confusion that comes out is that Cruz stood on the side and confused people about the fact that every Republican agrees. He said if you don’t agree with my tactic and with the specific structure of my idea, you’re bad. He said if the House would simply pass the bill with defunding he would force the Senate to act. He would lead this grass-roots movement that would get Democrats to change their mind. So the House passed it, it went to the Senate, and Ted Cruz said, oh, we don’t have the votes over here. And I can’t find the e-mails or ads targeting Democrats to support it. Cruz said he would deliver the votes and he didn’t deliver any Democratic votes. He pushed House Republicans into traffic and wandered away.”
Said Harry Reid after the meeting at the White House: "We're through playing these little games focused on Obamacare.”
NBC News: "Arizona Sen. John McCain and other like-minded Republican senators could end up reprising roles as key deal-makers as the party seeks a final negotiated solution to the government shutdown. No clear path to ending the impasse over spending has emerged, but in one possible deal scenario -- a comprehensive agreement that also solves the problem of raising the debt limit -- McCain will likely play an essential role, just as he has been in past bipartisan agreements like the immigration bill that passed the Senate last June."
National Journal looks at the more influential behind-the-scenes conservatives in the House.