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Senate approves 1st spending bill to avert partial shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — As a major hurricane menaces the East Coast, Congress is moving to avert a legislative disaster that could lead to a partial government shutdown just weeks before the November midterm elections.

Senators approved a $147 billion package Wednesday night to fund the Energy Department, veterans’ programs and the legislative branch. The bill is the first of three spending packages Congress hopes to approve this month to avoid a government shutdown when the new budget year begins Oct. 1.

The measure was approved 92-5. The House is set to vote on the package Thursday.

Approval of the spending bill was so important to Republican leaders that they moved up a vote planned for Thursday, citing the threat of Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Southeast U.S. coast.

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