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The US Congress passed a spending bill last week that may slightly dull the effects of the sequester cuts for science agencies. The bill, which is a continuing resolution, makes changes to the sequester cuts, though it leaves most of those affecting discretionary spending in place, ScienceInsider says.

As the Nature News blog reports, the bill gives the US National Institutes of Health an additional $67 million, though the agency lost about $1.6 billion of its $30.7 billion 2012 budget to the sequester. Similarly, the National Science Foundation would see an increase of about $90 million under this bill, but it also lost about 5.1 percent of its $7 billion 2012 budget to sequestration.

"We applaud this bipartisan gesture, but sequestration continues to cast a shadow on advancing science and innovation," Mary Woolley, Research!America's president and chief executive officer, tells Nature in a statement.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed this bill, and President Barack Obama is set to sign it this week, the Washington Post adds.