New York lawmakers approve $168B budget in middle of the night

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top lawmakers struck a deal late Friday on a $168 billion state budget, thwarting a possible government shutdown after negotiations took a tense turn earlier in the day.

Lawmakers worked through the night to pass the final pieces of the spending plan just hours after receiving the bills, with the Senate wrapping up around 12:15 a.m. Saturday and the Assembly finishing around 4 a.m.

Cuomo and legislative leaders had spent much of the week locked in marathon, closed-door negotiating sessions hoping to get a budget in place before the start of the state’s fiscal year Sunday.

But looming religious holidays and bitter debates over weighty policy issues seemed to threaten their progress Friday morning, when Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, suggested a stalemate over a Brooklyn senator’s push to exempt yeshivas and other non-public schools from certain state education requirements could lead to a shutdown.

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