With New York Reps. Chris Gibson and Richard Hanna the only Republicans among 233 in the House to vote on Saturday against the continuing resolution that delays Obamacare, the major question at the Republican Conference meeting later Monday is sure to be who will be next to "go wobbly" on the issue.
As it did last week, the Democratic-controlled Senate is certain to strip out the language delaying funding of Obamcare that the House passed by a vote of 231-192 early Sunday morning.
The vote was nearly along party lines, with the two New Yorkers bolting from Republican ranks and Democratic Reps. Scott Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina bolting to support the delay.
But with a government shutdown hours away and the continuing resolution soon back in the House court, there is mounting speculation that other Republicans will join Gibson and Hanna and oppose delaying Obamacare to re-open federal offices.
"Confidentially, you may see more as we moved forward and have to make other votes," one GOP House member, who requested anonymity, told Newsmax. "If you get out of the South and the West, and move away, to the Northeast, you'll find some who will not like looking like obstructionists."
Another House lawmaker, who spoke to us under promise of anonymity, told Newsmax: "John Boehner wants to do the right thing with the delay. The Senate won't go along with it. But some of these people think they will just wake up one day and find four or five other Democrats in the Senate suddenly agreeing with [West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe] Manchin to support a delay. Now how's that going to happen? Will someone perform magic?"
Observers of New York politics agreed that two-termers Gibson and Hanna were headed in this direction, although surprised that both supported the original House continuing resolution that defunded Obamacare rather than simply delayed it.
Hanna represents the Utica district held by moderate Republican Sherwood Boehlert from 1982-2006 and was a backer of Utah's moderate former Gov. Jon Huntsman for president last year. Gibson, a retired U.S. Army colonel who also represents an upstate district, was placed the furthest left of all House Republicans in National Journal's 2012 ideological vote ratings.
"Whether that means he is the most liberal, the most moderate, or perhaps just the least conservative member of the GOP conference is in the eye of the beholder," wrote the National Journal's Scott Bland.
Gibson also faces a well-funded challenge next year from Democrat Sean Eldredge, a prominent leader in the national gay community.
For now, many of those lawmakers thought likely to go "wobbly" have not.
Six-termer Tom Cole of Oklahoma, for example, a loyal lieutenant of Boehner who is considered more pragmatic than ideological, told Newsmax that "the president himself has delayed parts of Obamacare's implementation. We had a pretty good conference and we're united. He'll negotiate with Putin and Rouhani, but not with us," referring to the presidents of Russia and Iran.
Cole, whose district is heavy with federal workers, also pointed out that emails and calls to his office are about evenly split for and against on the CR delaying Obamacare.
"As for the shutdown," Cole said, "they blame both Congress and the White House, and say, 'A pox on both your houses.'"
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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