The Senate just voted to send a “clean” bill to keep the government operating (at sequestration levels) back to the House, and House Republicans are meeting to decide what to do next. Apparently the most likely idea is a third version of Obamacare demands.

I’ll basically repeat what I said on Friday: A small number of House Republicans could put an end to this very quickly by refusing to go along with another futile continuing resolution (CR).

Greg Sargent reports that perhaps more than half of the the House Republican conference would actually privately prefer to get a clean CR passed and prevent a shutdown, and that more than enough Republicans would actually vote to pass it, given that most House Democrats would join them.

However, the plain fact is that those supposedly reasonable House Republicans could have ended this fight back on Saturday night by either voting down the Obamacare amendments or by voting against final passage. And they could end the fight right now by telling House Speaker John Boehner that they will not vote for another tea party CR.

Put it this way: Right now, Republican House leaders are choosing between two different majorities — one that every Republican has proved willing to vote for, with many or most enthusiastically demanding it, or a second majority that would be made up mostly of Democrats and might even fail on the House floor if all those Republicans who privately want to avoid a shutdown refuse to vote that way in public.

If, however, 40, 30, even 20 Republicans stood up and said they would vote only for a clean CR, then there’s only one majority on the House floor, and Boehner would have to choose between putting a clean CR on the floor or heading into a shutdown with no bid at all.

Again: Twenty-five Senate Republicans were willing to vote last week against the tea party position. Out of the 44 who voted. Can House Republicans not come up with 25 willing to do the same thing — out of 232? Many or most of whom privately feel that way?

That’s all it would take to keep the government running. It’s on them if the government does shut down.