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Senate Vote Predicted Early Saturday

Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., the coalition’s leader, said he would allow a vote on the near-$390 billion spending bill after 1am EST Saturday.

“There’s always another day and another fight,” Kohl said at a news conference, where two aides appeared dressed as a black-and-white cow.

Kohl said the price controls will hurt dairy farmers in the Upper Midwest.

According to the Associated Press, during negotiations, Republican leaders offered to help Kohl when the issue comes up again in Congress.

Republicans are eager to pass the spending bill and end this session of Congress.

Meanwhile, both parties, since the bill passed in the House, have been claiming victory in the bipartisan compromise.

The four-member coalition — which also includes Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., and Paul Wellstone, D-Minn. — now predicts the spending package will easily pass.

“We have run out of leverage,” Wellstone said.

Another filibuster averted

The Senate averted another filibuster yesterday by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W. Va., over the issue mountaintop mining.

The Clinton administration sought to halt the mining, contending the technique, which blasts the tops of mountains with explosives, is too harmful to the environment.

Byrd, though, backed down after a 56-33 vote allowed the mining to continue temporarily while further studies are conducted.

To assure government runs smoothly while the budget fight is finally resolved, Congress approved a measure Thursday keeping federal offices open through Dec. 2.

If the vote proceeds as expected, however, the extension will not be needed.