Congress has approved $6 billion in spending cuts as part of legislation to keep the government running for three more weeks and give President Barack Obama and congressional leaders time to negotiate a far more sweeping package of reductions demanded by Republicans.
The bill easily passed the Senate by a 87-13 vote, but patience is running out on both sides with stopgap funding measures that keep the government open for two or three weeks at a time.
The White House and Capitol Hill Republicans remain far apart on larger legislation to cover the day-to-day operations of the government until the 2012 fiscal year begins in October.
Government agencies have generally been operating at last year's levels for almost half of the budget year. But Thursday's measure combined with $4 billion in cuts from a two-week extension passed earlier this month means that Congress has cut $10 billion since Republicans took over the House in January.