For Boehner to be successful, DeGette said the speaker needs to remember during his negotiations with Obama that a sizeable number of Republicans are expected to jump ship on any tax agreement with the White House — whether it’s a short-term deal or something much bigger.

“The Republican leadership is going to have to realize they have to work with us,” she told POLITICO.

Boehner has needed Democrats before. In August 2011, 66 mostly conservative House Republicans voted against legislation to extend the debt limit, requiring GOP leaders to find dozens of Democratic yes votes on the bill that mandated about $1 trillion in spending cuts and also set in motion the sequestration ax poised to fall on the Pentagon and other federal agencies on Jan. 2.

Many of those same conservatives are again drawing a line for Boehner, this time with a demand that he make no concessions to the White House to raise tax rates.

“It’d be just so wonderful if I could not have to be the skunk at the party,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told reporters Wednesday…

Even if House GOP conservatives sunk a bill on the first crack, former Rep. Vic Fazio (D-Calif.) said he thought Congress would be risking too much to reject a deal outright. “It’ll be like the TARP,” he said, referring to the House’s 2008 vote on financial bailout legislation sought by the outgoing George W. Bush administration. “They’ll come back and do it until we do it.”