WASHINGTON -- The Senate followed the lead of the House of Representatives and approved $16.5 billion in midyear budget cuts yesterday. President Clinton vowed again to use his first veto to kill the legislation.
In a vote overshadowed by a long-running debate over next year's federal budget, the Senate voted 61-38 for cuts in the 1995 budget. The vote came after several days of fruitless negotiations on a compromise between the White House and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.
At the White House, President Clinton again criticized Republicans for including legislators' pet projects, such as courthouse construction and other public works jobs, while unduly targeting programs involving education, public housing, job training and the environment.
"If the bill comes to me in the same form without the restoration of the education and training, yes, I will veto it," Mr. Clinton said.
According to analysis of the midyear budget cuts by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research group, the bulk of the savings -- $8.5 billion or 61 percent -- are from programs that serve low-income people.
Republicans, trying to turn up the political heat against Mr. Clinton, tried to focus attention on the more than $7 billion in emergency spending that is included in the legislation.
At the White House's request, the bill includes $6.7 billion in earthquake aid for California and for 39 other states hit by tornadoes, floods and natural disasters, $275 million in debt relief for Jordan and $240 million for counterterrorism and for relief and investigation efforts in the Oklahoma City bombing.
"I think it is a major mistake for the president to veto a bill that does so many good things," said House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas urged Mr. Clinton to reconsider the veto threat. "If the president is having second thoughts, I hope he will follow up on his second thoughts," he said.
In the Senate yesterday, a lone Republican, Sen. John H. Chafee of Rhode Island, broke party ranks to vote against the bill and eight Democrats sided with the Republican majority in voting yes: Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, Dianne Feinstein of California, Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin and Harry Reid of Nevada.
But Republican leaders conceded it was unlikely that either chamber could muster the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.