The Senate on Monday approved legislation that would allow the State Department to transfer $1.1 billion to improve security at U.S. embassies overseas in the aftermath of the deadly assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya last September.

By voice vote, the Senate passed the bipartisan measure that would give the department the authority to use surplus funds that are no longer needed in Iraq, where the United States has scaled back operations. The bill now goes to the House.

"Hardening our embassy security is something that everyone agrees is needed," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., sponsor of the bill and chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign operations. "We all want to do what we can to prevent another tragedy like what occurred in Benghazi. The State Department has done a review, and these funds will be used to expedite construction of Marine security guard posts at overseas facilities, and to build secure embassies."