The Senate in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has passed a new budget which cut funds for the legislature and the executive branch by more than two million US dollars, redirecting that money to various education programmes.
If the House approves the Senate's substitute budget, the measure will go straight to the governor Benigno Fitial for action.
But if it's rejected the House and Senate will have to form a committee to come up with a compromise.
Lawmakers and the governor have until the end of the month to pass and sign a budget to prevent a partial government shutdown.
That would mean temporary unemployment of more than 1,000 government workers, many of whom are already dealing with shorter working weeks and have been forced to wait for their wages on a number of occasions over the past year.