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WASHINGTON (AP) — A potential federal shutdown hurtling ever closer, the Senate dealt an emphatic defeat to a core of rebellious young conservatives Friday and approved legislation preventing government agencies from closing next week.
The 54-44 vote, however, hardly spelled an end to Washington's latest down-to-the-wire budget drama. It remains unclear whether the Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-run House will be able to craft a compromise and rush it to President Barack Obama for his signature before the government has to tell hundreds of thousands of federal workers to stay home on Tuesday.
The fight, which restive conservatives want to use as leverage to dismantle Obama's prized health care law, was certain to spill into the weekend at least. House GOP leaders are struggling to concoct a new version of the shutdown bill able to win approval in their chamber and clear the Senate, too.
The high-stakes showdown was playing out in a climate of chaos, unpredictability and GOP infighting that was extraordinary even by congressional standards. Reflecting the building tension, Senate Chaplain Barry Black opened Friday's session with a prayer that included, "Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis."
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