House leadership has decided to delay the vote on a bill funding the government to next week amid a small rebellion from conservatives who want to use the measure for a do-or-die fight on repealing Obamacare.
While the bill has faced criticism from conservatives, leadership aides are downplaying the significance of the delay, noting that Majority Leader Eric Cantor only yesterday unveiled his plan for the continuing resolution bill to the full GOP conference.
“Getting anything this big accomplished in 72 hours is always tough and we just need a couple extra days to dot the is and cross the ts,” a House GOP leadership aide says. “Conversations are ongoing. We’re making progress,” a second Republican says.
A third GOP source says the initial whip count, conducted yesterday, registered just over 200 “yes” votes, meaning there is still work to do to get a Republican-only majority of 218 votes. Though the vast majority of the GOP conference is on board, only a small number of defections – as few as 17 – could imperil the bill.
As I reported in my piece on the home page, the pressure from the outside is intense. An email blast from the Senate Conservatives Fund practically shut down congressional phone line yesterday and the outside groups are not planning on letting up.
Leadership, meanwhile, is urging rank-and-file members to direct their energies to the upcoming debt ceiling fight, which Whip Kevin McCarthy told me yesterday is the “perfect” venue for an Obamacare battle.