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Budget deal still short of votes to pass Senate: Durbin

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[December 16, 2013]  WASHINGTON (Reuters)  Senate Democrats are still short of the votes needed to pass a budget deal that would avoid a government shutdown in January and blunt automatic spending cuts, Senator Dick Durbin, the chamber's No. 2 Democrat, said on Sunday.

"The struggle is still on in the United States Senate. We will need about eight Republicans to come our way. I feel we'll have a good strong showing from the Democratic side, but we need bipartisan support to pass it," Durbin, of Illinois, said on the CBS "Face the Nation" program.

The Republican-led House of Representatives on a broad bipartisan vote last week passed the budget deal negotiated by the leaders of the House and Senate budget committees.

The Senate is set to vote on the measure in coming days before Congress heads out for a holiday recess.

Durbin said that in addition to Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, who has said he will support the measure, "We have a handful (of Republicans), but we need more. Some are still thinking about it."

(Reporting by Vicki Allen; editing by Sandra Maler)

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