What's the plan on Capitol Hill to avoid a government shutdown? There is none.
With 12 days remaining before the federal government runs out of money, Republicans have no definitive plan to stop another disastrous money crunch — one they were blamed for in 2013 when a fight over the Affordable Care Act triggered a 16-day shutdown.
Making matters worse is that both the House and Senate have just a few working days left to hammer out a deal before the Sept. 30 cutoff.
"It's not that Speaker John Boehner's leadership team is hiding their best hand. They have no trick up their sleeve, no ace in the hole — pick your cliché," Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer write on Politico.com.
The issue at stake is the funding of Planned Parenthood, which conservatives say must be stripped of the $500 million in government money following the release of hidden-camera videos they say show the agency's officials negotiating the sale of aborted fetus parts.
Many Republicans want the defunding of Planned Parenthood to be part of a deal to keep the government going. But Democrats are demanding Planned Parenthood be kept out of any deal.
And if a bill that does include Planned Parenthood defunding makes it through Capitol Hill to President Barack Obama, he'll veto it.
reports that House GOP leaders are "trying to convince their rank and file it would be a bad move to risk a government shutdown over blocking funding for Planned Parenthood."
To bolster their argument, they presented lawmakers, in a closed-door meeting, with polls that show the GOP would be blamed if the government grinded to a halt, The Hill says.
But many members of Congress aren't ready to back down yet.
Rep. Matt Salmon, an Arizona Republican, told reporters that while none of the lawmakers want a shutdown, "I think that the president ultimately has to either put up or shut up."
He added: "Our leaders wave the white flag every time there’s any kind of a confrontation."
Boehner, an Ohio Republican, is trying to remain positive.
"There are a lot of steps in this process. You will see a lot of steps in the coming weeks, and certainly reconciliation is a distinct possibility as well," he said.
If the worst happens, not all government services will be shuttered, The Washington Post
Those deemed "exempt" because they are not funded through a congressional appropriations process — such as the U.S. Postal Service — will continue to operate.
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