Consensus — and time — in short supply

Conservatives including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are continuing to push their plan to defund ObamaCare by removing the funds from any spending bill to keep the government running. Leadership has rejected the plan and attempted to satisfy conservatives by promising a separate vote on defunding the law. 

But it fell so flat with conservatives that House GOP leaders had to pull the continuing resolution (a short-term spending bill to fund the government through Dec. 15) from floor consideration this week. It is proving challenging for GOP leaders to talk conservatives out of their plan, something even Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has said won't work. "We just have to walk them through and instead of overly rush, let's do it next week," House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) said.

And Thursday, when House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked about how his conference would reach agreement on a bill to put on the floor and then send to the Senate in the next two weeks, Boehner conceded there was no resolution yet on how to proceed. He was also reminded of the coming debt-ceiling debate that will immediately follow because an increase in the debt ceiling will be required by mid-October. "I'm well aware of the deadlines," he said.

Time is running so short that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced the upcoming congressional recess, a week before the fiscal deadline, is likely to be canceled. This is what passes for good news these days in Washington.

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