Budget-battle season is back on Capitol Hill, and not without the requisite drama; it sounds like the House leadership was hoping to pass a continuing resolution (which Congress needs to do before October 1st in order to avert a government shutdown) this week, in order to avoid the usual showdown angst and the accompanying poor PR. On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor came up with a plan that would use some Congressional-procedure finagling to send a clean CR over to the Senate, but force the Senate to vote explicitly on ObamaCare’s funding before they could take up the clean CR. The point therein would have been to at least force a few sheepish and/or potentially vulnerable Democrats to take a yes-or-no stand, and leadership had been hoping to vote on the scheme before the week was out.

But that plan working out would have been far too easy, of course. Merely wringing a show vote out of the Senate isn’t quite the bold, hard-line stance that a number of House conservatives had in mind, and leadership decided to push the vote back, presumably to either drum up all the necessary votes or to find some other sort of compromise.

They still haven’t found either, according to Speaker Boehner as of this morning. Via The Hill:

Republican leaders have failed to settle on an alternative plan to keep the government running after Sept. 30, Speaker John Boehner said Thursday, a day after conservative opposition forced him to delay a vote on their original proposal.

“There are a lot of discussions going on about how to deal with the [continuing resolution] and the issue of ObamaCare, so we’re continuing to work with our members,” Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a Capitol press conference. …

“There are a million options that are being discussed by a lot of people,” Boehner said. “When we have something to report, we’ll let you know.”

A number of conservatives are pressing party leaders to require a one-year delay of ObamaCare in exchange for a continuing resolution, but Boehner would not comment directly on the idea. …

“I’m well aware of the deadlines,” Boehner said. “So are my colleagues. And so we’re working with our colleagues to work our way through these issues. I think there’s a way to get there.”

It doesn’t sound like the necessary Republican votes are within reach to save the plan, and leadership is probably detecting some strong resistance to any kind of mitigation on a stronge ObamaCare-defunding move because Cantor is already suggesting that they may cancel the recess currently scheduled for the last week of September to sort this thing out.

The Democrats, of course, are standing at the ready to go to town on this series of developments, as is their wont:

“I sometimes sympathize with Speaker Boehner, but the fact of the matter is, if he wants to lead for the good of this nation he has to step beyond the tea party faction in his caucus,” the Illinois Democrat said. “If he would call our farm bill on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, it would pass. I believe if he called our immigration bill on the floor of the House of Representatives, it would pass. If he would call on the floor a basic funding level of the Senate budget resolution, it would pass.”

Instead, Durbin said, “He has bowed to this willful minority in his own caucus at the expense of this government and of this nation.”

“Their direction is a direction to shutting down the government,” Reid said of the House Republicans, adding that ”obviously” a majority of that group want to see a government shutdown. ”Those in touch with reality, and most everyone is in touch with reality, should understand that passing a clean CR is the right thing to do,” Reid said.

“If the Republican leaders keep giving in to the tea party and their impossible demands, they must be rooting for a shutdown,” Reid said. “There’s still a common-sense solution.”