National parks would close, most passport applications could not be processed, and the space program would mostly be put on hold, among other hardships.
A top House Democrat, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said Tuesday that he would not support the stopgap funding bill under any circumstance since it would fund programs at an annualized funding rate of $986 billion, a level consistent with automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration that Democrats are trying to reverse.
But if the Democratic Senate goes along with that funding level, as insiders have signaled, and if Obama endorses the straightforward funding measure, House Democrats could likely be counted upon to provide the votes. The question is whether GOP leaders would want to pass the measure with help from Democrats, which Boehner did on several occasions earlier this year to the consternation of conservatives.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Tuesday that the GOP move is a nonstarter.
"The president's been clear. I've been clear. Efforts to either defund or delay the Affordable Care Act are unacceptable," Lew told the Economic Club of Washington. "That is not a path towards something that can ultimately be signed into law."
The GOP aide required anonymity because the strategy has not been announced.