Bill to avert shutdown OK'd by Senate

WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Friday approved a government-funding bill stripped of a Republican-backed provision to block money for President Obama’s healthcare law, sending the bill back to the GOP-led House with just days left before a possible government shutdown. 

As expected, the bill to continue existing levels of federal spending through Nov. 15 passed, 54-44, along party lines. Before that, the Senate voted, 54-44, to remove the measure that would have eliminated funding for the Affordable Care Act.

The key vote came more than an hour earlier. Twenty-five Senate Republicans joined with the Democratic majority, voting, 79-19, to end a filibuster on the bill. The motion required 60 votes to pass.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had argued that a vote against the motion represented a final opportunity kill the healthcare law. Only 18 of the chamber’s 45 other Republicans joined him.

In a final floor speech before that vote, Cruz all but conceded defeat, acknowledging “Republican division on this issue.” But he insisted that the fight against Obamacare, as the legislation is commonly known, wasn’t over.

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