On Monday afternoon, about eight hours before the government shutdown began, House Speaker John Boehner was asked whether he would consider passing a "clean" continuing resolution -- that is, a measure to fund the government without attachments that defund, delay, or limit Obamacare. "Is the clean CR off the table?" asked a reporter. "Is that not going to happen?"
"That's not going to happen," said Boehner.
Boehner had said the same thing in the days leading up to Monday. For example, asked about passing a clean resolution on Sept. 26, Boehner answered, "I don't see that happening."
Fast forward to 1:15 a.m. Tuesday. Boehner and House Republicans had just finished their latest move in the funding battle -- passing a resolution with a one-year delay of Obamacare's individual mandate, plus a request for a House-Senate conference committee. Boehner and House GOP leaders walked to the microphones and held a news conference that lasted all of 73 seconds.
After Boehner's opening statement, a reporter asked, "Will you permit a vote on a clean CR?" Boehner's response, in its entirety: "We are hoping that the Senate will take our offer to go to conference and let us resolve our differences." Boehner said nothing about "not going to happen" or "don't see that happening." Instead, he sidestepped the "clean" resolution question entirely.
Some influential Republican insiders believe the funding standoff will eventually be resolved by the House passing the "clean" CR that Boehner had categorically rejected earlier. Boehner did nothing to stop that speculation with his brief statement early Tuesday morning.