Senate advances bill to avert US government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (C) speaks to the media while flanked by Senators John Barrasso (L) and John Cornyn, September 22, 2015 in Washington, DCThe Republican-led US Senate easily advanced a crucial spending bill Monday that averts a government shutdown, rebuffing far-right conservatives who have demanded a showdown over funding scandal-plagued abortion provider Planned Parenthood. Fiscal year 2016 begins Thursday and Congress must approve — and President Barack Obama must sign — legislation that funds federal operations before midnight on Wednesday night or many government departments close up shop. The Senate measure, which advanced 77 votes to 19, does not defund Planned Parenthood as conservatives had demanded.

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