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Ohio Senators Want To Avoid Government Shutdown

Ohio U.S. Sentators Rob Portman, left, and Sherrod Brown.
Ohio U.S. Sentators Rob Portman, left, and Sherrod Brown.

Both of Ohio’s Senators want to meet a Friday deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Members of Congress are working on a short-term funding bill to keep the federal government open, but are still debating the inclusion of some controversial measures that likely won’t make the final resolution – like fixes for insolvent workers’ pensions and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA.

GOP leaders have, however, added six years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program to the continuing resolution.

Nearly 220,000 Ohio children are covered by CHIP, but funding for the program expired in September. Coverage for Ohio CHIP recipients is administered through Medicaid and is currently providing health insurance to the population at a much lower federal reimbursement rate.

“I like what I’ve seen the House has done on an extension of CHIP," Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said Wednesday, but added he wouldn't vote against the continuing resolution, even if it did not address other outstanding issues.

“I have no interest in shutting the government down," he said. "I am hopeful that we don’t do that and the adults come in the room and solve this as we should.”

Brown is, however, urging Republican leaders to take a separate vote on DACA as soon as possible. The program allowed thousands of immigrants brought to the country illegally as children to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation, but will end in March.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman has said he also wants a legislative fix for the program, but would like to see a funding bill that keeps the government running through the end of the fiscal year in September.

If approved, the current funding proposal would expire on February 16.