A budget bill has passed a US Senate procedural vote, all but guaranteeing its approval this week and averting a government shutdown next month.
In a rare show of cross-party spirit, 12 Republicans joined Democrats to pass the measure 67-33, paving the way for a majority vote later this week.
The two-year budget bill was overwhelmingly approved last week by the US House of Representatives.
President Barack Obama has also backed the budget proposal.
Tuesday’s vote exceeded the 60 votes required to overcome a delaying tactic known as a filibuster. It is expected to come up for a simple majority vote on Wednesday.
The Senate’s top four Republican leaders – who are in the minority – voted to block consideration of the budget bill, though their opposition was mainly symbolic and they knew the bill would ultimately go forward, analysts say.
If approved, it will go to Mr Obama for his signature.