In it, but not of it. TPM DC

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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With threats of a government shutdown and a possible plot to oust House Speaker John Boehner, a Boehner ally lobbed the ultimate insult at the hardliners in his party: he compared them to Saul Alinsky, a lefty community organizer who became known in the 1950s and 1960s for embracing radicalism.

"This is a continuation of the strange virus that’s running through the Republican Party, which I define as a weird form of right-wing Marxism where people are using Saul Alinsky-type tactics,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) told the Washington Post.

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Scott Walker sits with his hands folded at a desk on the set of a public television news program. He glances at the blonde anchorman across from him, then down at his hands, then back at the anchor.

The baby-faced Walker, who's just 24 years old and representing the Wisconsin Republican Party, has spent roughly the last half-hour verbally sparring with former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon and Louisiana state representative David Duke. The Wisconsin residents calling into the program, "Smith & Co," have been berating him, too. Walker is staring down at his hands every other time the camera cuts to him.

The year is 1992 and the topic at hand is whether Duke should be allowed on the Wisconsin presidential primary ballot as a Republican. The anchorman, Joe Smith, asks Walker to predict how the state's bipartisan ballot selection committee will decide.

"I would certainly hope it's gonna be a majority opposed to putting him on the ballot," Walker says, pursing his lips.

Duke's upper body calls out from a TV screen on the wall behind the desk: "Shame on you, Scott Walker, shame on you." He's speaking from New Orleans via satellite.

With his eyes still lowered, Walker shakes his head a little and opens his hands as if to shrug, "Well, what can you do."

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As the Sept. 30 deadline to fund the federal government approaches and conservatives dig in on a fight to defund Planned Parenthood, the White House and Senate Democratic leadership signaled they would be open to a short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

From the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that any short-term bill must be "clean."

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A leading conservative lawmaker eager to dethrone House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is ratcheting up the pressure for a shutdown battle over Planned Parenthood that neither Boehner nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) want and are trying desperately to avoid.

“I cannot and will not fund a vile, racist organization who specializes in convincing mothers to kill their children and then selling their baby parts to the highest bidder," Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) said in a written statement to TPM Tuesday. "During the funding debate two years ago, Mitch McConnell finagled a $2.8 billion dam for his home state. And now when it comes to keeping his pro-life campaign promises, I’m pretty certain he still knows how the process works.”

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The plan hatched by the GOP leadership in Congress to appease abortion hardliners and avoid a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding shows little sign of working so far.

Facing a Sept. 30 deadline to fund the government, GOP leaders in both chambers decided they would fast-track standalone anti-abortion bills in an effort to allow conservative Republicans to express their anger over a series of “sting” videos claiming to show that Planned Parenthood is illegally harvesting the tissue of aborted fetuses. The leadership hoped that with those votes out of the way, the path would be clear for long-delayed bills to fund the government in the new fiscal year, even if those bills contained money for Planned Parenthood.

But anti-abortion groups and conservative House members are not backing down from their hard line. They are reiterating that they will not vote for bills that include Planned Parenthood funding under any circumstances, despite the maneuvering by leaders to vent their outrage over the videos. If anything, anti-abortion groups are amping up the pressure on lawmakers not to back down from the fight.

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GOP presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich had some harsh words for conservatives threatening to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood.

"The president's made it clear he is not going to sign it," Kasich said on Fox News Sunday. "I'm willing to fight all day long, but you've got to have a good prospect of being able to be successful. Because if you're not successful, you shut the government down, you open it up and you haven't achieved anything. You're just going to have people shake their head and wonder what your thinking was."

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As the Sept. 30 deadline to pass a government funding bill gets closer, GOP leadership is scrambling to avoid a possible shutdown over abortion politics.

At a party lunch Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) laid out a plan to Republicans to prioritize a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks in the hopes of assuaging conservatives seeking to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood, CNN reported. The calls for defunding the reproductive health organization came after a series of sting videos that anti-abortion activists claim shows Planned Parenthood was profiting from the harvesting of aborted fetal tissue.

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