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Tax cut halved in Senate budget

©Associated Press

March 27, 2003

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.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona was the only Republican to vote no.

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