U.S. lawmakers took their first major formal step in the broader Congressional debate about the federal government's fiscal 2011 budget, as the House of Representatives approved what its Speaker John Boehner R-OH called one of the largest spending cuts in American history.

The House of Representatives on Saturday passed the $1.2 trillion bill, known as H.R. 1, which requires $61 billion in cuts to what remains of the 2011 fiscal year, compared to President Barack Obama's request.

The vote was 235-189 in favor.

The Senate will consider the bill when it reconvenes on February 28. If passed and signed by President Obama, the bill will fund the federal government from March 4 to September 30.

The cuts cover only the last 7 months of fiscal 2011 because last December, the House and Senate only voted to fund part of the 2011 fiscal year.

The government agency known as the Congressional Budget Office projected in January that if current laws remained unchanged, the federal budget in 2011 would show a deficit of $1.480 trillion, or 9.8 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

That contrasts with President Barack Obama's budget proposal to Congress unveiled last week which shows the 2011 budget deficit at $1.645 trillion.