“There’s no rule preventing him from allowing the entire House to work its will, Democrats and Republicans together, and that may mean that we have to pass something that does not have 50 percent of Republicans on board,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told National Journal.

Van Hollen said the only question that remains is whether a deal gets struck now or within the first two weeks of the New Year – meaning the door is open to cutting a deal after the leadership election, which could be a saving grace for Boehner. But, Van Hollen added, “I think we should do it immediately.” He declined to delve into the prospect of working with a Republican other than Boehner at the helm of the House.

One GOP member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so he could speak openly, predicted the country “would go through the cliff, [President Obama] will figure out what deal he can cut, it’ll go through the Senate and we’ll have to pass it out,” he said.

That may force Pelosi and Boehner to collaborate, a task for which they have shown little appetite up until now. In an encouraging sign, they had a short meeting in the corridors of the Capitol today as they left the House floor after a pro-forma session.