Friday was the fourth day of the government shutdown, and there’s still no sign of an exit. What’s surprising about the ongoing fight is how a small group of members of Congress have managed to bring Washington to a halt. Just months ago, Speaker John Boehner was warning that forcing the government to shut down over Obamacare or anything else was politically hazardous. Yet Boehner remains stuck, his strategy dictated by a small rump of members in the Republican caucus who refuse to budge. On Monday night, as government funding ran out, a group of around 40 hardline conservatives refused to support any resolution to fund the government that didn't defund Obamacare. Since Monday night, their goals may have become less clear, but their resolve has not weakened. While it’s widely believed that a “clean” resolution would pass the House handily, it would also likely lead to a right-wing rebellion in the caucus that would spell the end of Boehner’s speakership.
So who are those hardliners? To compile this list, we started with a roster that the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group aligned with Ted Cruz, created of representatives who were allied with them. We cross-checked it with the list of members who signed an August letter by Rep. Mark Meadows demanding that Boehner use a shutdown as a threat to defund Obamacare, and against other public statements this week. It's not a comprehensive roll — there’s no official “wacko bird” caucus that keeps a register — but it's a window into the small but powerful group of men and women in the House of Representatives who brought the federal government to a standstill.