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Senate Acts to Avert Shutdown, More Funding Votes to Come

McConnell has so far made good on his assertion that the government will not shut down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate moved one step closer Monday night to keeping the government from temporarily shutting down by clearing a procedural hurdle, 77-19.  

Monday's action sets up a vote for final passage sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, absent a time agreement. But legislators need to act fast to keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30, the last day of the fiscal year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blamed Democrats prior to the vote for blocking appropriations bills and pursuing "a deliberate strategy to force our country into another of their unnecessary crises," leaving the continuing resolution "as the only viable way forward in the short term."  

“It does not represent my first, second, third, or 23rd choice when it comes to funding the government," McConnell said. “But it will keep the government open through the fall, and funded at the bipartisan level already agreed to by both parties, as we work on the way forward.”  

Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., countered that the blame was squarely on Republicans' shoulders for spending time voting on a continuing resolution that bars federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which ultimately failed.  

"I'm glad that we're on the verge of avoiding another Republican-sponsored shutdown of the federal government," Reid said on the floor Monday night.  

The funding measure received the blessing of the White House as a way to give legislators time to come up with a broader spending agreement.  

But some Republican senators, including GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dan Coats of Indiana, said ahead of the vote they oppose continuing resolutions that don't make a dent in long-term spending challenges.  

The House also needs to approve a funding measure, which would fund the government through Dec. 11.

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