The Senate has approved a $36.5 billion budget that was initiated by minority Republicans. But it turned down authority to implement it.
The Democratic-controlled chamber voted 31-21 to approve the proposed outlay for the year that begins July 1.
The vote looked like a breakthrough after five months of wrangling over the so-called "grand bargain" budget compromise.
But it was quickly followed by a vote on authority to implement the budget. It failed by three votes, 27-24.