John Boehner, Eric Cantor struggle to lead the House

In just two frantic days, rank-and-file House Republicans sidelined leadership’s plan to fund the government and take another nonbinding, quixotic vote on defunding President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. These Republicans said the leadership plan is too weak, lacks a long-term strategy and is akin to waving a white flag on Obamacare.

The skirmish is yet another example of how few Republicans are willing to follow Boehner and Cantor’s lead during tough legislative fights. And in practical terms, the rejection of what became known as the Cantor Plan — a continuing resolution, with an unattached provision to defund Obamacare — makes it more likely that the House and Senate will be at loggerheads with a government shutdown looming on Sept. 30.

A clearly frustrated Boehner seemed to realize that he leads a conference where no plan is quite good enough. There are frequently about 30 Republicans who oppose leadership’s carefully crafted plans — just enough to mess things up. A reporter asked him whether he has a new idea to resolve the government funding fight. He laughed and said, “No.”

“Do you have an idea?” he asked the reporters. “They’ll just shoot it down anyway.”