Although the latest figures show that just 30 House Republicans agree that the GOP should stand strong against Obamacare — no matter what — House Speaker John Boehner still refuses to bring a measure to the floor that would back down on de-funding the Affordable Care Act and stop the government shutdown.
Why? Without the support of conservative extremists, Boehner could lose his position as speaker. Thus, he is ignoring the wishes of 175 Republicans and 200 Democrats — who together constitute 86 percent of the House — and catering to the small circle of far-right politicians, even as the nation suffers.
By House regulations, "A resolution declaring vacant the office of Speaker is presented as a matter of high constitutional privilege." This means that if the speaker is challenged — which can happen at any point — the House can take a swift vote and the issue will supercede all others. If they do decide to challenge Boehner, he could be ousted quickly.
In Boehner’s unique and precarious position, a few Tea Party members could easily turn on him, inciting a vote. And given his current popularity level, it is unclear whether the speaker’s job would survive.
Despite his share in responsibility for the government shutdown, Boehner is staying silent on the issue, aware that there’s no way to make himself look good.
"I would hope that the Senate would accept our offer to go to conference and discuss this so we can resolve this for the American people," he said in a press conference yesterday, but would not comment on whether or not he would consider a budget resolution that did not block Obamacare.
So Boehner is caught between a rock and a hard place, and no matter what he does it will be next to impossible for him to come out on top. The majority may rule, but it isn’t ruling Boehner’s actions — in this case, it’s simply a matter of whom he least wants to offend. And apparently, the Tea Party wins.