Senate extends aviation programs for the 23rd time 

The Senate has approved a temporary extension of Federal Aviation Administration programs, avoiding a shutdown of the agency as lawmakers work out their last remaining differences on a long-term plan.

A bill to extend FAA programs through Feb. 17 was approved Thursday by a voice vote — the 23rd such extension since 2007. The agency's operating authority had been due to expire on Jan. 31. The House passed an identical extension earlier this week.

Lawmakers said House and Senate negotiators are near an agreement on a final bill but need time to resolve a handful of remaining issues. None is seen as an obstacle to passage.

Negotiators recently reached a compromise on rules for how airline workers can form unions, which had been holding up passage of a long-term bill.

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