"I got overrun, that's what happened."
That was House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, explaining to President Barack Obama how he wound up at the head of a party that pushed the government into a two-week-plus shutdown amid an ideological scuffle over the Affordable Care Act, according to a behind-the-scenes report in Politico.
Boehner emerged - once again - as a tragic figure this past week as he tried to lead his party to water only to realize - once again - that it would rather go thirsty.
Sensing that the compromise being brokered by the Senate to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling was going to be well short of what House Republicans wanted, Boehner rolled out a proposal Tuesday morning that would have, among other things, eliminated the employer contribution for congressional staffers under the health-care law - a move that would have allowed House Republicans to declare a minor victory in the shutdown.
It turned out that they didn't want even that win. After Boehner spent a full day lobbying his conference to back the bill and promising a vote by late Tuesday, the legislation was pulled from the Rules Committee in the late afternoon, and the leadership admitted defeat.
That left the speaker with one option: to bring the deal worked out by the Senate to the House floor for a vote, the very scenario he had been hoping to avoid. The legislation that ended the shutdown and raised the federal debt limit passed with just 87 Republicans voting for it - the fourth time in 2013 that Boehner has brought a major bill to the floor that was approved with a minority of Republican votes.
It wasn't all bad news for the speaker. His consistent support for the tea party conservatives' desire to defund or delay Obamacare over the past month strengthened his hand among the four dozen or so lawmakers who had long been restless under his leadership. But that was a small victory in a larger war that Boehner lost.
John Boehner, for getting run over by your party, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
"I got overrun, that's what happened."
- Online Only
Judges deny chimpanzees 'personhood'
Three lawsuits filed last week that attempted to achieve "legal personhood" for four chimpanzees living in New York have been struck down.
Racism linked to infant mortality, learning disabilities
In the long list of health disparities that vex and disproportionately affect the lives of African-Americans - diabetes, cancer and obesity among them - one of the earliest and, it turns out, most significant, may be just when a black child is born.
VIDEO: College basketball player hit by police officer while crossing street
An Ohio college student is recovering after she was struck by a police car.
Twitter reacts to Time's Person of the Year
Time has announced its Person of the Year for 2013: Pope Francis. The announcement, seen live on the "Today" show Wednesday, generated immediate reaction on Twitter. Here is a sampling.
Personal genetic tests face sharper scrutiny after 23andMe
23andMe Inc.'s clash with U.S. regulators over the direct sale of its gene analysis service to consumers signals stiffer oversight of thousands of tests in an industry predicted to increase fivefold in size.
Federal budget deal would have new hires pay more into pensions
Federal employees hired after Jan. 1 will make higher contributions toward their retirement benefits than current workers under a budget deal announced Tuesday night.
Harvard study finds diet changes gut bacteria within a day
A change in diet quickly alters the types of bacteria living in the human gut, a finding that suggests this rapid adaptability to different foods can be used to control illnesses tied to stomach microbes, researchers said.
Minnesota college student survives night on porch in subzero temperatures
A University of Minnesota Duluth student suffered severe hypothermia and could lose her hands after she passed out on a freezing porch in subzero temperatures with only a jacket and boots to protect her from the cold.
Human trafficking battled by text message
A few months ago, a worker monitoring a hotline for the Polaris Project, a nonprofit group dedicated to combating human trafficking, received a text message from an 18-year-old woman in distress.
All I want for Christmas is a new Christmas song
Despite the gigabytes of Christmas music released each year — big stars making their first charge into the yule breach this year include Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige, and, alarmingly, the cast of Duck Dynasty — they are, overwhelmingly, reiterating yuletide warhorses.
- More Online Only Headlines
- Judges deny chimpanzees 'personhood'