The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson—Getty Images
September 24, 2015 8:25 AM EDT

Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of Congress Thursday morning in a highlight-anticipated address that may leave both parties upset. He enters a building deeply divided on ideological and procedural lines, just days before the federal government may shut down over budgetary inaction amid differences over funding for Planned Parenthood. For the two Catholic men seated behind the pontiff, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden, the meeting holds special meaning (See VP Biden’s essay in TIME on Francis’ visit here) and comes as they each face difficult decisions about their political futures.

As many in the GOP field run against the government they hope to lead, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is taking a different path, betting that a positive message and a long resume can distinguish him from a field of 15 candidates. Already there are signs of success in New Hampshire, where he’s risen to the top tier. And Marco Rubio is proving himself with with vision and patience, preparing for a breakout moment.

A top Clinton aide faces email scrutiny. Trump is warring with Fox News—again. And why shutting down the government is more expensive than keeping it open.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Meet the Man Behind the Planned Parenthood Videos
TIME’s Alex Altman goes inside the 30-month operation that could lead to a government shutdown

John Kasich Isn’t Angry
But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a GOP contender [TIME]

Emails Show Huma Abedin’s Ties to Private Consulting Firm
Top Clinton aide faces more scrutiny [Politico]

Marco Rubio Earns His Place in the Republican Top Tier
TIME’s Joe Klein on the Florida senator’s moment

Pope Francis Meets America
The pontiff offers his vision of faith, duty and moral leadership in his first U.S. visit, TIME’s Nancy Gibbs and Elizabeth Dias write in this week’s cover story

Basking in Pope’s Glow, Catholics Biden, Boehner Face Tough Decisions
Sitting behind the pope, with a lot to think about [Washington Post]

Sound Off

“You shake our conscience from slumber” — President Obama welcoming Pope Francis to the White House Wednesday

“God is the ultimate. I mean God created this (points to his golf course and nature surrounding it), and here’s the Pacific Ocean right behind us. So nobody, no thing, no there’s nothing like God.” — Trump talks faith in an interview with CBN news

Bits and Bites

The 4 Colleges Hosting 2016 Presidential Debates [TIME]

A 5-Year-Old Girl Gave the Pope a Message About Immigration [TIME]

Joe Biden: ‘Pope Francis Is Challenging Us’ [TIME]

Inside the Killing of An American Terrorist [TIME]

The Pope Meets the First Dogs [Twitter]

Hillary Clinton Sits for Interview with Lena Dunham [Politico]

Donald Trump Is at War With Fox News Again [TIME]

Forceful Debater Sanders Nears Test [Boston Globe]

Shuttering the Government Actually Costs More Than Keeping It Open [Washington Post]

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