An empty speaker's lectern is seen in the rain outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington

Senate splits over bill to avoid government shutdown

An empty speaker's lectern is seen in the rain outside the U.S. Capitol in WashingtonBy David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A behind-the-scenes congressional battle to avoid a U.S. government shutdown broke into public view on Thursday when Republicans produced a stop-gap funding bill that Democrats immediately rejected. The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30 and Congress must pass a spending measure by then to keep the government open. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell capped weeks of labored negotiations by proposing a continuing resolution that would fund government agencies from Oct. 1 through Dec. 9 at an annual rate of just over $1 trillion.

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