Senate advances stopgap spending bill to avoid shutdown

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Clock ticks down on fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON — The Senate has given a strong vote of confidence to a bipartisan spending bill that’s needed to head off a government shutdown at midnight Wednesday.

The 77-19 vote powers the measure past a filibuster by some of the chamber’s most ardent conservatives. They were angered that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stripped a provision that would cancel federal funding of Planned Parenthood in exchange for keeping the government open.

The Kentucky Republican is under fire from tea party conservatives who demand that he fight harder against Planned Parenthood — even at the risk of a partial government shutdown. But McConnell is concerned with protecting his 2016 re-election class from political damage if Republicans are blamed for a shutdown.

The bill would keep the government operating through Dec. 11.


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