Leadership sources tell me the House will soon vote on a continuing resolution that simultaneously funds the federal government and defunds Obamacare. Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are expected to announce the decision at Wednesday’s Republican conference meeting.
This means the conservatives who have been urging Boehner to back a defunding effort as part of the CR have won a victory, at least in terms of getting the leadership to go along with their strategy. But getting such a CR through the Democratic Senate and signed into law will be very difficult — and many House insiders predict a “Plan B” will emerge in the coming days.
Here’s how my sources expect the gambit to unfold: The House passes a “defund CR,” throws it to the Senate, and waits to see what Senator Ted Cruz and his allies can do. Maybe they can get it through, maybe they can’t. Boehner and Cantor will be supportive, and conservative activists will rally.
But if Cruz and company can’t round up the votes, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejects the legislation, the House leadership will likely ask Republicans to turn their focus to the debt limit, avert a shutdown, and pass a revised CR — a stopgap spending bill that doesn’t defund Obamacare.
For the moment, though, the leadership is officially undecided. “No decisions have been made, or will be made, until House Republican members meet and talk tomorrow,” says Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman.