House passes $2.4 trillion '05 budget

Plan reflects priorities of president: Iraq war, cuts in domestic spending

March 26, 2004|By Elaine S. Povich | Elaine S. Povich,NEWSDAY

WASHINGTON - Always a partisan document, the federal budget took on an even more partisan feel yesterday as the House passed a $2.41 trillion spending blueprint for next year that Democrats said is fiscally irresponsible.

Republicans, who have traditionally eschewed deficits - now expected to surpass $521 billion - mostly put their concerns aside to back President Bush's priorities: tax cuts, funding for the war in Iraq, and tighter domestic spending. But the House curbed the tax cuts a bit and speeded up Bush's goal of cutting the budget in half in five years. The House document, which passed 215-212, calls for balance in four years.

In a bow to the Republicans' tradition of frugality, conservatives in the party proposed their own budget, which included deeper spending cuts and faster deficit reduction than the main Republican plan. That budget failed, 309-116.

Democrats made a proposal to scrap many of the tax cuts and pay down the deficit while spending more on schools, veterans and other domestic programs. That was defeated 232-194.

The Senate approved a similar budget bill earlier this month but insisted that future tax cuts and spending increases be paid for with tax increases or spending cuts. The differences will have to be worked out by a House-Senate conference committee this spring.

Newsday is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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