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HOUSE DEMOS BICKER OVER THEIR BUDGET PLAN

SHARE HOUSE DEMOS BICKER OVER THEIR BUDGET PLAN

House Democratic leaders tout their budget as a forward-looking alternative to President Bush's plan, but conservatives within their party say it's equally lacking in political courage.

"I am angry," said conservative Rep. Dave McCurdy, D-Okla., as the House began debate Wednesday on the $1.2 trillion blueprint for fiscal 1991. "It is another example of dodging important issues."The leaders' budget would cut $8 billion from the president's $303.8 billion Pentagon spending request for next year and put most of that toward domestic programs such as space, AIDS research and education.

"It is time we rebuild America, restore our economic leadership in the world and begin to address unmet needs," said Budget Committee Chairman Leon Panetta, D-Calif., principal author of the plan.

The House planned Thursday to debate two Republican alternatives to the Democratic plan, one a partial freeze on spending at current levels and the other to cut red ink through the use of gold-backed bonds to refinance the national debt.

Final action on the House budget is planned next week. House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., said Wednesday he was confident the leadership plan would prevail.

But McCurdy said he "wouldn't count those votes yet." With Republicans unified in their opposition, it was possible conservative Democrats could sink the plan.