Rep. Steve King said: "This is the inevitable end."
Rep. Mick Mulvaney agreed that Tuesday's clean funding vote has been "inevitable" since Congress approved the so-called "CRomnibus" in December, and that opponents were never going to win.
"I think we were destined to fail," Mulvaney said. "This was always going to be the outcome. "¦ There's nothing to be gained here. This is an unmitigated loss for conservatives."
At Tuesday's meeting, according to a source in the room, Boehner told members that the GOP was simply out of options.
"As you've heard me say a number of times, the House has done its job by passing legislation to fund DHS and block the president's executive actions on immigration," Boehner said, according to the source. "Unfortunately, the fight was never won in the other chamber. Democrats stayed united and blocked our bill, and our Republican colleagues in the Senate never found a way to win this fight. The three-week CR we offered would have kept this fight going and allowed us to continue to put pressure on Senate Democrats to do the right thing. Unfortunately, that plan was rejected."
Boehner said the House's only options were a DHS shutdown, yet another short-term CR, or the clean Senate bill:
"With more active threats coming into the homeland, I don't believe [a shutdown is] an option," Boehner said. "Imagine if, God forbid, another terrorist attack hits the United States."
Boehner also pointed to a recent court ruling halting Obama's executive actions on immigration as reason for hope.
"I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president. "¦ I believe this decision—considering where we are—is the right one for this team, and the right one for this country," Boehner said, according to the source. "The good news is that the president's executive action has been stopped, for now. This matter will continue to be litigated in the courts, where we have our best chance of winning this fight."
Speculation in the past 48 hours had focused increasingly on a quirk in House rules that would allow any individual House member, Republican or Democrat, to bring the funding bill to the floor as a privileged resolution, guaranteeing an up-or-down vote. In the end, Rep. Mike Simpson—a close Boehner ally—used that provision to bring the bill to the floor.
King drafted a resolution that would suspend the House rule allowing a privileged vote on the funding bill, but his resolution was meaningless unless the leadership allowed it to pass.
King said there was "zero dissent in the room" Tuesday as Boehner offered his plan, mainly because of "exhaustion" over the constant back and forth with the Senate.
Rep. John Fleming, a House Freedom Caucus founding member, said more battles pitting the president against Republicans are coming—and leadership should be prepared.