U.S. Senate approves measure to avoid "helium cliff"

WASHINGTON, Sept 19 Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:01pm EDT

WASHINGTON, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed by a 97-2 margin a measure that would prevent a possible shutdown of the U.S. helium reserve program in early October.

Helium is a critical product in the aerospace and defense industries and also used in the manufacture of smart phones and medical equipment, among other things.

The White House on Thursday said it supported the Senate amendment to an earlier House of Representatives bill to keep the reserve operational.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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