CHANGE OF TUNE

Senate Dems Cave And Avoid Shutdown

Senate Democrats said on Friday night that they never in fact wanted to shut down the federal government over a dispute about benefits for coal miners. There was a looming threat because Democrats had taken a hard line against a Republican proposal because it only gave extended health insurance for retired miners for four months. But Democrats relented and did not want to force a shutdown over it. "We're not going to shut down the government. We're going to keep it open," said incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. "We're going to provide the votes so we don't shut down."