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House panel OKs plan with more cuts than Clinton seeks


WASHINGTON -- Divided sharply along party lines, the House Budget Committee pushed through a new spending blueprint yesterday that would carry out President Clinton's basic economic program but reduce outlays far more than he originally proposed.

The Democratic-controlled panel voted 26-17 to adopt a $1.5 trillion budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. It would add $62.5 billion more in spending cuts than Mr. Clinton wanted over the next five years. A House vote on the package is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Working on a fast track of its own, the Senate Budget committee debated a similar Democratic spending blueprint but put off its decision until today.

Democrats on the House panel closed ranks in a series of party-line votes to beat back Republican amendments that were intended to torpedo parts of Mr. Clinton's program.

The Democrats claimed their plan contained $510 billion in deficit-reduction measures between now and 1998, despite GOP complaints that the spending guidelines were not specific enough to persuade the public the budget cuts were real.

"In large measure, it moves the president's bold new agenda forward," said Rep. Martin O. Sabo, D-Minn., chairman of the House budget panel. "This Budget Resolution is much more than crunching numbers or hashing over process. It is primarily about getting our economic house in order and moving our nation forward."

The resolution would freeze discretionary spending for defense, foreign and domestic programs at present levels for the fiscal years 1994 through 1998. Mandatory spending for such benefits as Social Security, Medicare and veterans' programs would increase, however.

Republicans presented an alternative budget that they claimed would cut the deficit by $429 billion over the next five years without raising taxes but by making some politically daring reductions in retirement programs and Medicare.

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