U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) talks to journalist after attending the Senate DReuters

The U.S.Senatewas preparing to pass agovernmentspending bill on Friday eveningafterDemocratsfromcoalstates announced they would not risk agovernmentshutdownby continuing to delay the vote.

Manygovernmentservices and operations would have been closed or suspended starting at midnight if theSenatedid not pass a series of spending measure scheduled for votes at 10 p.m. EST (0300 GMT).

IncomingSenateDemocratic Leader Chuck Schumer said someDemocratswould oppose the measure, but not so many that it would fail.

"We're not going to shut down thegovernment. We're going to keep it open. We're going to provide the votes to make sure we don't shut down," Schumer on theSenatefloor.

 

Democratsfromcoal-producing states, led by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, had delayed the vote on the funding bill, risking a possiblegovernmentshutdown, to demand a longer extension of the miners' healthcare benefits that expire at the end of this year, but they did not get their way.

The legislation passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday provided financial support for four more months of benefits, through April, but Manchin and otherSenateDemocratswanted at least a year.

Republicans refused to reopen the issue. But Schumer said thatSenateMajority Leader Mitch McConnell had promised Manchin he would work next year to continue the benefits beyond April. Manchin and the otherDemocratsthen announced that they would continue to oppose the measure, but theystopped objecting to holding the vote.

Thegovernmentfunding bill would keep federal agencies funded until April 28.

Democratshad expressed some hope that Republican President-elect Donald Trump, who won the presidency with support of many blue-collar workers, would support their cause.

Schumer said Trump could still weigh in on the issue next year.

"The president elect ran on a campaign with explicit direct promises tocoalcountry, and he woncoalcountry big, that's for sure," Schumer said. "So we are simply asking our president-elect, to communicate to the people in his party, to get on board, live up to the promise we made the miners many years, decades ago."

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