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Government shutdown avoided after disaster relief vote

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"This compromise should satisfy Republicans...and it should satisfy Democrats," said Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, who added that Budget Director Jacob Lew had informed him that FEMA did not need any additional funding to meet its needs for the final few days of the budget year.

"It's a win for everyone," declared Reid, who had spent much of the past few weeks accusing Republicans of choosing to heed the wishes of tea party adherents rather than the needs of their own constituents battered by acts of nature.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said it was a "reasonable way to keep the government operational."

But he got in a final jab at Democrats, noting that the disaster funds sought by the Obama administration and its allies in Congress were now known to be unneeded.

"In my view, this entire fire drill was completely unnecessary," he said.

But not even the dispute-resolving agreement prevented Democrats from proceeding to a politically charged vote earlier in the evening that was designed to force Republicans to decide whether immediate aid to disaster victims or deficit concerns held a higher priority.

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