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Manchin urging colleagues to block funding bill as shutdown looms

Manchin urging colleagues to block funding bill as shutdown looms
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Voters split on eliminating the filibuster: poll OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (D-W.Va.) is urging his colleagues to block a short-term government spending bill with hours left before the government shuts down. 

Spokesman Jonathon Kott on Friday confirmed that Manchin is calling his colleagues and asking them to oppose the continuing resolution (CR) over an entrenched fight on miners healthcare. 

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The CR includes a four-month extension of health benefits for thousands of miners and their families, but Manchin and other Democrats want that extended to a year. 

Unless Manchin backs down, the Senate won't be able to take a vote until Saturday morning, blowing the Friday night deadline to avoid a government shutdown. 

Democrats have stopped short of saying they will ultimately block the CR while stressing they are sympathetic to the miners and their families. 

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat in the next Congress, downplayed the chances of a shutdown, telling reporters that he didn't believe there was an "appetite" for closing the government. 

"What we’re trying to do is to make it clear that we think it should be more than several months," he said. "I don’t believe that there’s an appetite for shutting down the government."  

It's unclear whether Manchin has the 41 votes needed to ultimately block the CR. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden's climate plans can cut emissions and also be good politics Acting Defense secretary makes surprise trip to Somalia As Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on MORE (R-Ky.) pressed Democrats to drop their opposition the CR on Friday morning, pledging to work with them next year to extend retired miners' health benefits past April. 

"Would I have preferred that [the continuing resolution] provision to be more generous? Of course I would have," he said. "My request to the House was to fund it for a full year, but we'll be back at it in April and I think it's highly unlikely it will be taken away." 
 

CNN first reported Manchin's efforts.