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Congress approves $1.74 trillion budget for FY 2000

April 15, 1999
Web posted at: 4:02 p.m. EDT (2002 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 15) -- For only the second time since 1987 when Congress set April 15 as its budget deadline, the House and Senate have approved a plan for fiscal spending on time.

The Senate Wednesday approved, 54-44 along party lines, the Republicans' $1.74 trillion plan for fiscal 2000. Sens. Tim Hutchinson, (R-Arkansas) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York) did not vote. The House passed the measure Tuesday in a near party-line 220-208 vote.

The budget highlights the GOP's political message of tax cuts. Republicans say their spending plan includes nearly $800 billion in tax cuts over the next decade while setting aside surplus funds for Social Security and heeding spending limits enacted two years ago.

Budget

Although the specific tax cuts have not yet been determined, the blueprint sets overall limits for spending and taxes for the fiscal year beginning October 1.

The budget does not require the president's signature. Appropriations legislation, passed by both legislatures and approved by President Bill Clinton, must fill in the gaps and sets overall tax and spending targets.

Republicans also intend to increase defense and domestic spending by cutting other programs.

The GOP hopes the measure will bolster their prospects in the next election and silence critics that last year labeled the Republican controlled 105th Congress a "do-nothing" Congress after it failed to produce a budget for the first time since the current system began in 1975.

"It's a good blueprint for America's future," House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) said after his chamber approved the measure Wednesday. "We're also pleased this Congress can get its work done."

Democrats charge the Republican plan chooses tax cuts over shoring up social programs like Medicare.

"A massive tax-cut scheme for the wealthiest among us, because that's what's really afoot here," said Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of New Mexico.

The measure anticipates a surplus of $141 billion next year, though virtually all of it would come from Social Security. The federal retirement system is expected to have a $1.8 trillion surplus over the next decade. Republicans would like to use that money to reduce the national debt.

Democrats, being the minority, hope to reach a bipartisan compromise that would use the funds to revamp Social Security and Medicare in preparation for the Baby Boom generation that is expected to bankrupt both systems.

Republicans counters that reducing the national debt and cutting taxes would grow the economy and a stronger economy would help solve the problems with the hallmark social programs.

"There is a dramatic difference between the two parties," says Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) the Senate Budget Committee chairman. "Republicans say, 'Don't grow government, give it back to the taxpayers.'"

The president claims the Republican plan doesn't go far enough to preserve and extend the fiscal solvency of Social Security and Medicare.

"The budget ... falls short of what the American people need for meeting the challenges of the 21st century," Clinton said in a written statement.

Conflict between both parties and Clinton is inevitable, because Republicans do not enjoy the super-majority needed to override a presidential veto.

"This is not a budget that is going to survive," Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, ranking Democrat on the Senate budget panel predicts.


RELATED STORIES

House OKs $1.74 trillion budget for 2000 (4-14-99)


THE 2000 BUDGET

GOP struggles to pass budget cuts (10-26-99)

Budget debate resumes Monday (10-24-99)

Budget disputes stall amid partisan sniping (9-29-99)

Citizen's guide to the budget impasse (9-29-99)

Housing secretary blasts GOP plan to cut budget (8-26-99)


1999 BUDGET

Clinton unveils his balanced budget (02-02-98)

Republicans criticize new spending in Clinton budget (02-02-98)

The Budget: A detailed glance (02-02-98)


RELATED SITES

The White House: Budget 2000

Overview
Background material
Budget/Fiscal record

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate



MORE STORIES:

Thursday, April 15, 1999

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