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U.S. Congress nears passage of major fiscal measures

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress neared completion of sweeping fiscal legislation on Friday that will avert a government shutdown, lock in billions of dollars of tax breaks for corporations and scrap a 40-year ban on the export of U.S. oil.

In a strong showing of bipartisan support, the House of Representatives voted 316-113 on Friday to approve a $1.1 trillion spending bill, one segment of wider legislation that was headed for likely passage in the Senate.

The spending measure keeps the government funded through next September, preventing a damaging shutdown like the one that hampered the federal government in 2013.

Embedded in the bill is the removal of a four-decade-old ban on U.S. oil exports. In return for allowing that Republican initiative, Democrats extracted concessions including tax incentives for wind and solar energy industries.

Tax breaks worth $680 billion over 10 years also are part of the year-end fiscal deal, despite concerns that they would open a hole in the budget deficit.

A tax package approved by the House on Thursday was a major victory for corporate lobbyists and Republicans. It makes permanent dozens of costly corporate tax breaks such as the research and development tax credit that had until now been temporary.

The House and Senate planned to act on the fiscal legislation quickly before adjourning for the year and President Barack Obama has said he would sign the measures into law.

Republican and Democratic Senate leaders have agreed to combine the spending, tax and oil export measures in a single package and begin voting on them as early as Friday afternoon.

Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and David Lawder; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Bill Trott