House Republican officials unveiled their measure at midmorning, then revised it in hopes of building more support. In its final public form, it would have permitted the Treasury to borrow normally until Feb. 7 and the government to reopen with sufficient funds to carry it to Dec. 15.
Additionally, members of Congress, the president, vice president and thousands of aides would no longer be eligible to receive employer health care contributions from the government that employs them.
The leadership projected confidence, and Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner said in a statement, "The House will vote tonight to reopen the government and avoid default."
Within a few hours though, objections came from all corners of the rank and file. And Heritage Action, a group with tea party ties, announced its opposition to the measure it said "will do absolutely nothing to help Americans who are negatively impacted by Obamacare." It said it would include the vote in its determinations next year on which candidates to support in the midterm elections.
That verdict came after Republicans jettisoned a pair of provisions that had drawn objections from the White House and Democrats. One would have delayed a medical device tax created under the new health care law known as Obamacare. The other would have imposed tougher income verification standards on individuals and families seeking subsidies for care under the law.
Democrats had viewed both as concessions to Republicans, and deemed their inclusion as a violation of Obama's vow not to pay a "ransom" to the GOP for passing essential funding and borrowing measures.
The day's events prompted an outbreak of partisan rhetoric, mixed with urgent warnings that both the U.S. and global economies could suffer severe damage quickly unless Congress acted by Thursday.
Even something of an appeal for heavenly aid was thrown in, as Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida led House Republicans in a rendition of "Amazing Grace" at the beginning of a rank-and-file meeting called to discuss a way out of the impasse.