Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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With one potential government shutdown close to being averted and another one on the horizon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaled a renewed effort to break Congress' habit of budget brinkmanship.

McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he would like to settle on a topline budget number for the next two years and that he, House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama spoke last week about getting those negotiations started.

"I would expect them to start very soon," McConnell said, according to video posted by Roll Call. A two-year deal would allow lawmakers to get back to the typical appropriations process, McConnell said.

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On the day a House panel heard testimony from the CEO of Planned Parenthood, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) compared the reproductive health organization and the Benghazi attack, another controversy known for prompting fireworks on Capitol Hill.

"#PlannedParenthood isn’t a 'healthcare provider' any more than #Benghazi was a 'spontaneous protest,'" the 2016 candidate tweeted.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may have sacrificed his speaker's gavel to keep the government open through the week. But the path that lies ahead for his successor is much trickier. Even if lawmakers, as expected, pass a short-term spending bill this week, they face a series of other deadlines before the end of the year that could converge into one giant showdown fueled by freshly emboldened hardliners who see compromise as defeat.

“It is setting up a very major set of hurdles for the next majority leader come the middle of December,” Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center who worked for the U.S. Senate for 25 years, told TPM. “How they make this silk purse out of a sow’s ear is going to be very, very difficult.”

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By falling on his gavel, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) cleared a path for Congress to pass a short-term spending bill and avoid a government shutdown.

The Senate will begin considering Monday evening a bill to fund the government through Dec. 11, the controversial Planned Parenthood funding included. With a final vote expected Tuesday, the House will have about a day to pass the legislation and keep the government open in time for the Sept. 30 deadline.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) explained his surprise decision to step down as a move to stabilize a congressional GOP rocked by revolts over his leadership. However, already, Republican lawmakers have expressed skepticism that his resignation will really cure what ails the House Republicans.

“To be perfectly honest with you, the results we get are probably going to be the same thing, it’s just going to be a different face,” Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) told reporters. “The natives are restless, and they want to see something change. So how much change somebody can bring about, we’ll see.”

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Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) -- a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, which was threatening a coup against House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) -- said Friday that now that Boehner has announced his resignation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is probably "the next guy in the crosshairs."

"Mitch McConnell is infinitely worse as a leader than Boehner," Salmon told reporters Friday. "He surrenders at the sight of battle every time."

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A Pennsylvania lawmaker objected to accusations that he had invited a white supremacist to testify in front of a committee by clarifying that the witness was merely a white nationalist.

The witness, Robert "Bob" Vandervoort, appeared at a hearing Monday on a bill to make English the official state language, the Patriot-News reported, prompting state Rep. Leslie Acosta (D) to allege that the committee had invited a white supremacist.

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Senate Democrats and a handful of Republicans filibustered Thursday a vote on a short-term spending bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood. Not only did the the legislation fail to gain the 60 votes necessary for it to move forward, a bipartisan majority -- 52 to 47 -- voted against it.

Eight Republicans -- including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) -- joined Democrats in blocking the legislation.

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