Senate Democratic budget-writers hope to join the House soon in advancing a 1993 spending plan that ignores President Bush's priorities and slices a big "peace dividend" out of Pentagon coffers.
On a largely party-line, 215-201 vote, the House approved a Democratic-written, $1.5 trillion budget on Thursday shifting $9 billion from defense to social and job-creating programs and to deficit reduction.The measure, for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, was crafted to let the Democrats demonstrate that they, and not Bush, are responding to a world in which the recession, not Moscow, is the enemy.
"We have a changed world," said House Budget Committee Chairman Leon Panetta, D-Calif. "This is a new era."
Democrats ignored Bush's request to shave $1.4 billion off the growth of Medicare next year, $900 million from veterans aid and billions more from other benefit programs. It did call for $2 billion in cuts for benefit programs but left the cuts unspecified.
By shifting money from the defense budget, Democrats would outspend the president by nearly $2 billion next year for education, $1.8 billion for highways, $589 million for job training and about $100 million for childhood immunizations. If the transfer from military spending is blocked, increases in domestic programs would be less generous.