The House has already passed a bill to postpone the individual mandate; 22 Democrats supported it. In the Senate, maybe one or two Democrats would go along. The problem, of course, is that even with a defection or two, Democrats have plenty of votes to filibuster the move, stopping it cold.
But maybe there's a deal that could be made. Some Republicans are exploring the possibility of trading some of the changes Democrats want in the sequestration spending cuts in exchange for an Obamacare delay. But of course Republicans would be divided on that, too; the sequestration cuts are the only real spending reductions the GOP has been able to force on the Obama administration. Would Republicans give even some of those up?
More than ever, GOP leaders fear the situation could lead to serious intra-party conflict. "We need to make sure that we're not shooting each other," said Johnson, "that we're not eating our own."