WASHINGTON -- Republicans pushed a $2.36 trillion budget through the Senate Budget Committee yesterday, a plan that trims spending and record federal deficits beyond what President Bush proposed.
The party-line 12-to-10 approval for next year's budget was given after Republicans foiled Democratic efforts to shrink its tax cuts and funnel money to deficit reduction, schools, and ports.
The GOP-written plan puts a more conservative imprint on President Bush's fiscal plan by trimming spending and record federal shortfalls slightly more than he has proposed.
But in a sign of election-year pressures, its fate next week in the full Senate seems uncertain. Democrats hope to attract enough moderate Republicans to force changes while shining a spotlight on the federal shortfalls that have sprouted since Bush took office.
"You've got to go back to the drawing boards here and have much less adding to debt," said Senator Kent Conrad of North Carolina, the top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee.
Committee chairman Don Nickles, Republican of Oklahoma, has conceded the full Senate is likely to erase a $7 billion cut to Bush's $421 billion proposal for defense, and also could boost domestic spending.
House Budget Committee chairman Jim Nussle, Republican of Iowa, also is encountering problems a week before his panel debates a similar plan.