If Reid holds firm and refuses to take up what the House sends over or if Senate Democrats reject it, there is a possibility that the House could pass a one-week extension of the current funding levels to avoid a shutdown and try to work something out with the Senate, multiple members told CNN.
But even if Boehner manages to maneuver around a shutdown, he has a much bigger problem looming in mid-October, when the Treasury Department's borrowing authority expires.
The House GOP leadership's plan for how to address the debt ceiling hit a brick wall on Thursday when a bloc of conservatives disagreed with the proposal. It's been shelved for the time being.
President Barack Obama continues to say he won't negotiate on the debt ceiling.
But House Republicans don't believe he'll stick to that posture and they still plan to attach a whole host of conditions to a debt bill that would trigger another high stakes standoff.
Cole conceded that the potential public perception that Republicans are responsible for forcing both a shutdown and a default on the nation's credit limit would be "very dangerous."
Outside the House chamber the Oklahoma Republican told reporters, "Those two things are about the only two things that could jeopardize the House majority" in the next election.