(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite AP)
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has cleared a hurdle on a stopgap spending bill that would avert a government shutdown and unravel President Barack Obama's health care law.
The vote was 100-0 and came an hour after freshman Sen. Ted Cruz ended his 21-hour, 19-minute filibuster. Cruz supports the bill but used a stalling tactic to postpone the inevitable - Democratic leader Harry Reid has the votes to strip out the defund Obamacare provision and send the spending bill back to the House.
The procedural vote allows the Senate to move ahead on the bill, with a key vote looming Friday or Saturday. The fiscal year ends on Monday and failure to pass a bill would force a government shutdown.