One rising option being bandied about in the GOP cloakroom: a continuing resolution that includes the Vitter Amendment, which would eliminate Obamacare subsidies for congressional employees. Another option is a short-term CR that simply extends the debate. “There are a lot of items on the table,” said Republican whip Kevin McCarthy of California on Fox News Sunday. “We are not shutting the government down.”

But that plan, a short-term CR with the Vitter Amendment, isn’t gaining much traction, since most of the House’s right flank is unwilling to sign off on any compromise that doesn’t delay Obamacare. “Hope he doesn’t do that,” warns Louie Gohmert of Texas, a Boehner opponent, when we mention a short-term CR. “That’d be a problem.”

The defiant positioning by conservatives puts Boehner in a difficult situation: He wants to pass another CR that wins the support of a majority of his conference, but there’s nothing in his arsenal that is guaranteed heavy GOP support. His hope of getting 218 Republicans behind a revised CR before a shutdown occurs is dimming by the hour. And if he can’t broker a deal by late Monday, a shutdown will be unavoidable…

“It may have to shut down,” says a veteran House Republican, when asked about how the drama will unfold. “Until people feel the political pain, I doubt we can come together on anything. Boehner knows that, probably more than anyone.”