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Trump on Wednesday evening praised the agreement in a tweet. All they have to do - I told him this at 11:00 a.m. this morning - give me 15 minutes to debate, 15 minutes to vote and we could have been done by noon. First time this has happened in a long time.

The move essentially started a race to the next deadline - the scramble to reopen the government before federal employees were due to report for work.

The measure's advance had been delayed by Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) over his objections to its reliance on deficit spending.

"We came together with an agreement that is very good for the American people", Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said.

If the plan is passed in the House of Representatives and signed by the president in the next few hours, the shutdown could be rescinded before the U.S. working day begins on Friday.

The deal approved by Congress was included in a short-term funding bill keeping the government open through March 23.

That plan introduced significant funding and changes for healthcare initiatives and agencies, including funding for the National Institutes of Health, the opioid crisis, among other health initiatives, totaling nearly $20 billion.

If passed, the bill would then head to the House of Representatives. The bill's funding for the rest of the government would expire next month.

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Politicians from both opposing parties criticised Senator Paul for slowing the bill up and provoking the shutdown.

The vote was the first big step in a rush to pick up the pieces of a budget and spending plan that had seemed on track hours earlier.

Leaders in the Senate had hoped the bipartisan package, which covers the remainder of this fiscal year and next, would end what has been a series of stopgap measures and shutdown threats, including the three-day disruption in January.

The measures will not provide a fix for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S.as children.

The deal reached this week was meant to draw support from all sides.

The package also includes $90 billion in disaster aid for coastal and Western states and Puerto Rico after a damaging hurricane and wildfire season. Unlike last month, when Democrats briefly blocked a federal spending bill to try to push Republicans on immigration, neither party has linked the two issues this time as lawmakers have been negotiating over possible immigration compromises.

Meanwhile, conservative House Republicans blasted the plan's calls for a almost $300 billion increase in federal spending over the next two years, raising concerns over federal deficits.

But it represented a bitter defeat for many liberal Democrats who sought to use the party's leverage on the budget to resolve the plight of immigrant "Dreamers" who face deportation after being brought to the US illegally as children.

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"Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits".

The Senate deal includes several Democratic demands but excludes immigration policy changes, particularly the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is something House Democrats may not be willing to forfeit. Trump has said he plans to shut the DACA program down next month.

"Unfortunately, we are back at that point that we were just a few weeks ago", said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

"We'll see. If they want to stay up until 3 a.m., I'm happy to do it for the fiscal solvency", he said.

The bill, which extends government funding for six weeks and raises the federal debt ceiling, would break the cycle of government funding crises in time for what is set to be a bruising campaign for November's mid-term elections.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget "is now preparing for a lapse in appropriations", an OMB official said on condition of anonymity late Thursday, calling on lawmakers to get the measure to Trump's desk "without delay". There's also $6 billion to combat opioid abuse and improving mental health, and $2 billion for research at the National Institutes of Health.

The 600-page plan proposes an increase in spending, by about $300bn (£215bn), on defence and domestic services.

It all amounted to some high drama overnight in the US Senate. Services deemed essential would continue, including Social Security payments, the air traffic control system and law enforcement. The former is a much larger group and, aides say, serves as a good indication of who will end up in the "yes" column.

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