WASHINGTON -- The Senate delivered a wartime rebuff to President Bush's domestic plans on Wednesday, approving a $2.2-trillion budget that provides less than half the $726-billion in tax cuts he wants to rally the listless economy.
The Republican-controlled chamber used a mostly party-line 56-44 roll call to approve the fiscal blueprint, which endorses just $350-billion of the president's planned tax cuts through 2013. That vote came after moderate GOP senators joined Democrats to fend off, by 52-48, a last-ditch Republican attempt to add $67-billion back to the tax reduction package.
The final say on the budget's tax-cutting figure will come when House-Senate bargainers work out a compromise tax-and-spending framework. The Republican-led House approved its own budget last week embracing Bush's entire $726-billion tax-cutting economic plan, and GOP leaders are sure to drive the tax figure in their compromise as high as they can.
Six Democrats voted for the budget: Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Evan Bayh of Indiana, John Breaux and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Zell Miller of Georgia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.