Updated 6:13 p.m. | House Republicans fell short of votes needed to advance a three-week bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security Friday evening, 203-224.
Just hours before the agency is set to shut down, GOP leaders must now decide whether to risk a revolt in their ranks and put the Senate-passed, six-month spending bill on the floor that does not include language to block President Barack Obama's immigration executive orders.
"I would support that, continue the immigration fight another day," said Rep. David Jolly, who voted for the three-week bill.
The Florida Republican said that if Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, went that route, he would do so at his political peril: "He'd have to rely on 188 Democrats to vote for it, and I think smart political minds would argue it would be the end of his speakership if conservatives saw that happen. So hopefully cooler heads will prevail."
House Republicans are expected to meet at some point Friday evening to determine next steps, which could either lead to a vote on the Senate bill or another option entirely.
Some members left the House floor speculating they could agree on a one-week continuing resolution, or maybe just one that would last through the weekend, to buy some more time.
"They may come back to the drawing board and offer a one-week [CR],"said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., who voted against the three-week bill. "That's what I heard."
However, that's not likely to pass any more muster with Democrats, who want long-term funding for the critical agency — nor will it solve the bigger issue of thwarting Obama's immigration actions, say Republicans who voted in favor of the three-week bill.
After the failed vote, House GOP allies of leadership fumed at their 50 colleagues who broke ranks in hopes of forcing a better deal that isn't like to materialize anytime soon, with the White House threatening vetoes and Senate Democrats capable of sustaining filibusters.
"You can't say you want to fight and not understand tactically how to fight," said Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. "If you can't give three more weeks to keep doing this, it's a real problem. The 50 people who voted 'no' are not only reckless, they're in favor of Obama's amnesty. Until you can add the 218 votes, it’s going to continue to be this way. That’s the bottom line."
Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., an appropriator who voted "yes" with leadership, also expressed disappointment.
"I thought it was probably our best option available under the circumstances, realizing we're probably going to go back and fight this battle again in three weeks with not a lot of hope for change," he told reporters.
Immediately after voting "no," Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., predicted the next move for Boehner and his lieutenants would be a default to the bipartisan Senate legislation. House Democrats have indicated they would back that proposal, which funds the department, without conditions, through the fall.
"The tail will wag the dog," he said. "Those who want to protect American jobs for American workers will vote against it, and those who want to give those American jobs to illegal aliens will vote for it, and then it will likely pass."
A wide swath of House Republicans had been resistant to funding the department through the remainder of the fiscal year unless the resolution included immigration policy riders. The House's three-week CR was considered a compromise to buy more time to either force the Senate to go to conference — an unlikely scenario — or hope the courts settle in their favor on a pending ruling that halts the executive order implementation.
But several of of the chamber's most conservative lawmakers were not convinced the plan would prevent them from being in exactly the same spot three weeks later, and they sunk the eleventh-hour gambit at around 5 p.m.
Though 12 House Democrats voted "yes," the vast majority sided with their leadership , who were whipping "no" on the stopgap bill, daring Republicans to find the votes all on their own. They've said they would vote unanimously to pass the Senate's bill should it be allowed to come up for consideration.
In that case, the GOP would be forced to suffer embarrassment that the minority party, not the majority, helped save the critical department from a funding lapse at midnight.
Tim Starks and Matt Fuller contributed to this report. Related: With Conservative Opposition, DHS Funding Vote Looks Tight Pelosi: Democrats Won't Help GOP Pass 3-Week DHS Funding Bill (Video) New Tea Party Caucus Chairman: DHS Fight Could Break the GOP House GOP Faces Another Whip Test on DHS Punt Boehner's Kiss for DHS Luck?