The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a spending bill Wednesday evening that would increase funds for the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts by $5 million each in the 2006 fiscal year.
The measure ( H.R. 2361  ), which finances the operations of the Department of the Interior and a slew of smaller agencies, would boost spending on the NEH to $143.1 million, up from the $138.1 it is receiving in this fiscal year. Funds for the NEA would climb to $126.3 million, up from $121.3 million this year.
The legislation, which the Senate approved by a vote of 94 to 0, will now be considered by a committee of lawmakers from both chambers of Congress, who will work to resolve differences between the Senate version and a companion measure passed by the House of Representatives last month.
The House measure would provide $143 million for the humanities endowment and $131 million for the arts agency.
In other developments related to the federal budget and higher education, the House Appropriations Committee adopted a measure  last week that would provide $7.5 million in funds for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, on whose behalf historians have waged an intensive lobbying campaign. 
The budget proposal put forward by President Bush in February would wipe out funds for the agency, which provides grants to publish works of key documents in American history.