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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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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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Pope Francis quietly met Wednesday evening with the Little Sisters of the Poor, the order of Catholic nuns suing the Obama administration over its contraceptive mandate, Forbes reported.

The meeting was short and largely under the radar compared to other stops on the pope's itinerary, but the Vatican signaled that the unscheduled meeting should be taken as an endorsement of the nuns' lawsuit.

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Republican leaders think they have a plan to avert a government shutdown. They now just have to hope that the hardliners pushing for one won't find a way to thwart it -- and there are many ways they could make things go wrong.

With a week to go before the deadline to pass a spending bill expires, GOP leaders in the House and Senate must guide a short-term funding bill through a delicate legislative process. Their plan depends on outmaneuvering the group of 30 or so conservative lawmakers vowing to block any funding legislation that includes money for Planned Parenthood. They must also sidestep Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who is openly threatening to make trouble in the Senate.

In the end, even the best-laid plans would only get a stop-gap bill through Congress. A long-term deal would still need to be worked out, and deep divisions remain unbridged. But it would buy time, avoid a needless government shutdown, and forestall the political firestorm Republicans would face heading into the 2016 elections.

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The hard-right caucus reportedly plotting a coup against House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may think they are standing up for conservative principals. But members of their own party see their antics as a boon to Democrats.

"The right-wing Marxist [sic] have teamed up with Pelosi. They’re the ones who always team up with Pelosi. They are the Pelosi Republicans,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), a Boehner ally, told The Hill. “The Freedom Caucus is an arm of Pelosi.”

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While other Republicans have sought to distance themselves from Ben Carson's stance that he would not support a Muslim in the White House, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) -- an influential figure in the Iowa GOP primary -- said the comments would likely help Carson in the state.

“I wouldn’t expect those remarks would hurt Dr. Carson in Iowa. I think they help him,” King said, according to The Washington Post. “The people on our side who pay any attention to this at all understand sharia is incompatible with the Constitution and that a sincerely devout Muslim — I might say, a devout Islamist — cannot seriously give an oath to support the Constitution, because it’s incompatible with his faith.”

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