Had you been able to, you would have stopped me about halfway through that last paragraph. That's because the debate currently underway among congressional Republicans about funding the government and dealing with Obama's executive action on immigration is the exact same debate the party has been having on Capitol Hill in one form or another for the better part of the last two years. Last month's election may have added to the GOP ranks in both chambers, but it did not solve the fundamental problem that plagues the party. And that problem, simply stated is this: There are some Republicans who see any compromise as capitulation and any victory won without a fight as something short of a "real" victory.
These hard-line Republicans are already expressing their dissatisfaction with the plan outlined by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a closed door meeting Tuesday morning. Instead of a spending bill that keeps the government funded through September with a chance to review the the Department of Homeland Security’s funding in March, the lawmakers want to pass a much shorter resolution........ These conservatives estimate the number of Republican “no” votes to be near 30 to 40 — enough to derail a vote on the government funding bill if Democrats oppose the measure.
As we have documented in this space in the past, there are somewhere between 15 and 45 House Republicans in the 113th Congress, which is in its dying days now, who regularly oppose Boehner on key votes on the House floor. (We once referred to them as "cast-iron conservatives.") There is a smaller group in the Senate -- Ted Cruz (Tex.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), to name three -- but they are a vocal minority.
The problem for Boehner, as mentioned in the Politico excerpt above, is that if 30 to 40 Republicans revolt against his funding proposal -- essentially to fund all of the government but the Department of Homeland Security through the next fiscal year -- he doesn't have enough votes to pass it, since Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) has zero interest in helping him out. If Boehner needs Democratic votes, he would have to tailor the bill to appease those Democrats, a move that could/would cost him more Republican votes. It would also be a violation of the Hastert Rule, which, at this point, has been broken so many times we should probably just shelve it.
It remains to be seen whether the 114th Congress will solve this long-lasting problem for Boehner. The 114th will not only include more House Republicans but also more -- like Bob Dold (Ill.) and Frank Guinta (N.H.) -- who want and need to find compromises.
It's also not clear whether the negative effects of the last shutdown, which fell most heavily on Republicans, and/or Boehner's work in guiding Republicans to a winning 2014 strategy, might change some members' calculus between now and next week.
As of today though, Boehner is where he's been for much of the last two years: Stuck in the middle. And that's a terrible place to be in politics.