Senate Acts to Avert Government Shutdown

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate voted Monday to end debate on a legislative vehicle that would fund the government through Dec. 11, paving the way for the body to avoid a shutdown just days before the Oct. 1 deadline.
     The spending bill is the second Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., proposed in the past week. Democrats blocked the first, which contained language that would have funded the government while defunding Planned Parenthood.
     Continuing resolutions keep the government funding at current spending levels while giving the body enough time to consider more spending legislation.
     The Senate invoked cloture on the continuing resolution by a 77-19 vote.
     Even though the vote on the resolution clears the way for Congress to avoid a shutdown pending House approval, Senators criticized their colleagues for allowing the deadline to get so close.
     “I’m glad that we’re on the verge of avoiding another Republican-sponsored shutdown of the federal government,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on the floor before the vote. “I’m glad cooler heads are prevailing.”
     McConnell pointed to the continuing resolution Democrats blocked Thursday, arguing the body had a chance to pass a funding resolution earlier if Democrats had relented on defunding the health care organization.
     Planned Parenthood has been embroiled in scandal in recent months after a conservative medical advocacy group released videos that purportedly show Planned Parenthood executives selling organs of aborted fetuses.
     “Republicans stood up for women’s health,” McConnell said on the floor. “Democrats stood up for their political friends.”
     Reid criticized Republicans for coming so close to the deadline to fund the government. He accused McConnell and his party of “governing by crisis.”
     Reid pointed to the joy of some Senate Republicans at the retirement of Speaker of the House John Boehner – including two he said were running for president who cheered when they heard the news – as an example of the party’s resistance to compromise.
     “It is hard to comprehend that people are cheering for this government to be closed,” Reid said on the floor. “That’s what they’re doing.”
     Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, criticized the vote on the floor shortly after its success was announced. He said Republican leadership had “preemptively surrendered” to President Barack Obama’s threats of a shutdown by saying one would not occur.
     Cruz attempted to introduce his own amendment to the resolution he said would have defunded Planned Parenthood and the Iranian nuclear deal without the administration agreeing to certain terms. He did not, however, get the support from a second senator necessary to bring the amendment to the vote.
     Instead, Cruz embarked on a lengthy floor speech in which he compared Obama to “The Terminator” and Republicans to a football team that forfeited the game at every coin toss.
     But a large majority of senators disagreed with Cruz and the Senate will be able to pass the continuing resolution Tuesday or Wednesday and send it to the House, giving hope Congress might avoid a shutdown.

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