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Threat of Government Shutdown Appears Lifted

Votes on continuing resolution expected later this evening

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III held up the stopgap spending bill over concerns over miners’ health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III held up the stopgap spending bill over concerns over miners’ health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening.

West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin III had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year’s extension of retired coal miners’ health benefits. Manchin said in a floor speech Friday that he would vote against moving ahead with the bill and final passage but did not say he would raise procedural objections that would stall it.

The current stopgap spending package to keep federal programs and agencies funded expires at midnight.

Manchin said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners, a senior Democratic aide said.

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