WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders scrambled Thursday to head off a politically damaging government shutdown in two weeks over rebellious conservatives’ demand that any stopgap spending bill block federal funds for Planned Parenthood.

Leadership sought an outlet for GOP lawmakers’ outrage after this summer’s release of videos secretly recorded by abortion foes, who contend they show that Planned Parenthood illegally profits from selling tissue from aborted fetuses to medical researchers.

Unclear is whether a vote Friday to defund Planned Parenthood and other steps will be enough to placate conservatives, emboldened by widespread criticism of the organization at Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate.

Temporary funding legislation is needed to give the chronically dysfunctional Congress more time to sort through huge differences over a full-year spending bill that could ease a budget freeze facing the Pentagon and domestic agencies. Top congressional Democrats exiting a meeting with Obama on Thursday said any temporary funding measure should have a short time span and that Democrats would demand increases for domestic agencies.

“We want to make sure we have equal money for defense and non-defense,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

In the final months of the year, another possible shutdown looms over President Obama’s demand that the GOP-led Congress increase the nation’s borrowing authority.

What is clear is that the once-routine job of advancing a short-term spending bill to keep the government open past an Oct. 1 deadline remains a major headache for House GOP leaders, chiefly Speaker John Boehner. Some hard-right lawmakers and tea partiers are threatening to try to topple the Ohio Republican, a fierce foe of abortion who has held the speakership since January 2011.

“We’ve seen promises to fight tooth and nail on things in the past and it hasn’t really materialized,” said tea party-backed Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz. “I think there will be a point where the thin ice breaks.”

The ice could be breaking between Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who met for 20 minutes after she returned from meeting with Obama. Aides declined to characterize the session.

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., accused Boehner of “subverting our republic,” and working for lobbyists rather than “what the constituents of our district want.”

Boehner’s clear but unstated preference is to pass a temporary funding bill that’s free of the Planned Parenthood controversy. Democrats are sure to filibuster any bill defunding Planned Parenthood should it come to a vote in the Senate, and Obama has promised a veto regardless.

The organization, which provides birth control, abortions and various women’s health services, says it’s done nothing wrong.

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