With no real way forward on replacing John Boehner as Speaker themselves, Republicans are now openly admitting that they will need Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to get them out of this mess.
“It's a very simple question of math,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), who first floated the idea of Republicans and Democrats joining together on a Speaker candidate last week.
“If there are not 218 Republican votes on the House floor, then by necessity the Democrats will have a say in who the next Speaker will be,” he said. “I still think it's a possibility.”
“Ninety-nine percent of the time that's something we don't want — it's not good,” King said of working with Democrats to elect a Speaker. “On the other hand, we can't go on forever without a Speaker.”
Such a scenario remains unlikely, even with the House GOP in apparent disarray ever since Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) decision to abruptly drop out of the race to succeed Boehner.
There have been no formal discussions between the parties about the possibility of a coalition Speaker, and some Democrats have dismissed the notion out of hand.
“It'll never happen,” Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.), vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, said after McCarthy's announcement.
Since then, Democrats have generally played coy.
They've distanced themselves from the controversy, insisting the leadership shake-up is a GOP problem for the Republicans to solve on their own.
“Hopefully the Republicans will come to terms as to who their recommendation will be for Speaker,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last Friday. “But that's really up to them.”
And while that's true, it's leverage that Pelosi has over the GOP, and both sides know it. The question is what will her price be at this point, because as we've seen over the last several years, in the end, the Republicans always fold.