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Democrats moved Thursday to give special relief to the financially strapped Postal Service, which would be allowed to defer $4 billion in payments due at the end of this month to cover retirement benefits for its employees.
Republicans protested the bailout but made no significant effort to block the provision, which has now been attached to a stop-gap spending bill slated to come before the House and Senate in the next week.
With little public warning, the language has now been attached to a must-pass spending bill to keep the government funded for the first month of the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. To further shield that resolution from amendments on the floor, the House and Senate Appropriations negotiators voted Thursday to wrap it into an otherwise non-controversial $4.65 billion budget bill covering the operations of the Capitol and such agencies as the Library of Congress.