The week is coming to a close with congressional GOP leaders no closer to a plan to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month.
The latest suggestion from House GOP leaders -- pass a stop-gap funding bill with Planned Parenthood funding, then defund it with a separate budget maneuver that would avoid a Senate filibuster and force a presidential veto -- has received a cool reception from the conservative congressmen pushing for a shutdown. Meanwhile, Democrats and the president have presented a united front, hoping to use the Republican infighting to their advantage.
The situation reflects a Republican leadership eager to avoid a shutdown, fearing its consequences on the 2016 race, but unsure how to rein in the most extreme elements of its caucus, who see the 2014 GOP congressional victories as a mandate to double-down on the most hardline stances of the party. Complicating the situation further is the abbreviated period lawmakers have to figure out how to break the impasse. With Yom Kippur, a speech by Pope Francis and a visit by the Chinese president interrupting congressional activity next week, only a handful of days on the legislative calendar stand between now and another shutdown.
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