Bill to end U.S. government shutdown clears key hurdle in Senate

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate voted on Friday to move forward on legislation to end a government shutdown, after a single Republican lawmaker delayed the funding bill for hours to protest an expected increase in the U.S. deficit.

The procedural vote limited debate on a bill that would fund the government through March 23 and increase spending limits over a two-year period. Clearing the procedural hurdle is a key test of support for the bill and indicates likely passage in another Senate vote soon.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Eric Beech)