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Three weeks ago, Democrats in the House rallied to give President Clinton a narrow, but needed, "political" victory by passing his economic plan. With that behind us, perhaps now Democrats and Republicans can fashion a new economic plan and salvage a victory for the American economy.

Because outside of Washington - out where it really matters - support for the tax-and-spend budget plan is sinking fast. The American people are peeling back the layers of this budget package - and they don't like what's at the core.As an admitted "deficit hawk," who has argued for deficit reduction in many past budget debates, I understand their uneasiness. Because, while the White House may portray it as a deficit reduction plan, this program does little to reduce America's long-term deficit dilemma.

The plan proposes the largest tax increase in U.S. history, contains few real spending cuts, proposes $60 billion in new spending and adds $1 trillion to the debt during the next four years.

It boosts taxes and slashes defense to bring about a short-term dip in the deficit. But the long-term problem remains. The annual deficit will still exceed $200 billion at the end of the president's current term and will continue to grow.

The plan, as passed by the House, calls for $292 billion in new taxes and user fees and less than $50 billion in real spending cuts over the next five years.

Other savings are promised at a later date. But Americans can see through that. They want us to cut first.

The plan that passed the House raises $6.35 in new taxes for every $1 in cuts. Even in the unlikely event that we get the promised future savings in defense and domestic programs, the ratio still approaches $3 in new taxes for every dollar in spending cuts.

The tax side of the economic plan is a smorgasbord of new levies - energy taxes, higher business taxes, increased Social Security taxes, raising personal taxes, higher Medicare taxes and more. These taxes will hit hard, destroy jobs and suffocate growth along the way.

And to make matters worse, all these income tax changes are effective last Jan. 1 - they're retroactive.

Now that the administration has won its needed "political" victory in the House, we hope the president will work with Republicans as well as Democrats in the Senate to fashion a real bipartisan plan in sync with what the people desire.

And that means targeting spending. Frankly, we cannot begin to achieve real, long-term deficit reduction unless we work to curb the unbridled growth in non-Social Security entitlements. At the very least, we should place a cap on this spending. Unless we do, the president's proposed new taxes will simply be eaten up by such mandatory spending.

Republican have offered alternative proposals to reduce the deficit through spending restraint and will do so again.

We want to work with the president to develop a meaningful, long-term economic plan that will create permanent private-sector jobs. We want to help forge a "real" deficit-reduction package that emphasizes spending restraint.

(Sen. Pete V. Domenici, R-New Mexico, is ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.)