U.S. government shutdown looms as Senate short of votes for spending bill

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate was short of the votes needed to approve a bill to keep the federal government running as a midnight deadline loomed on Friday night, but high-level negotiations continued.

In a dramatic late-night session, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell left voting open despite appearing to fall well short of the 60 votes needed to keep alive legislation that would fund the government through Feb. 16.

Slideshow (15 Images)

As the clock ticked toward midnight, McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer huddled in a room just off the Senate floor.

Without some type of funding bill, the U.S. government technically would run out of money by midnight Friday. That would force a government shutdown with scores of federal agencies across the country unable to continue operating.

Editing by Kieran Murray and Leslie Adler

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