WASHINGTON--The House of Representatives yesterday approved a $1 trillion Democratic budget that would raise $18 billion in new taxes, slash President Reagan's military buildup and block White House plans for sharp decreases in domestic programs.
The House endorsed the plan drafted by its Budget Committee, 230-192, with no Republicans voting for it.
"The resolution today adopts a very solid budget which many economists believe can make a difference between continued economic growth in the United States and economic stagnation," said Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tx.) "This budget reduces the deficit in a balanced way," he said.
However, most lawmakers conceded the blueprint would fail to meet the $108 billion deficit target of the Gramm-Rudman budget-balancing law. Democrats argued it did more to cut red ink than any other option, including the president's.
Rep. Lynn Martin (R-III) said it made Democratic priorities clear to the voters. "All you care about is cutting defense and raising taxes," she told the majority party. "The American people now know what they elected."
The House plan features a call for $18 billion in unspecified new taxes plus $1 billion from increased tax enforcement and another $2 billion from fees fees and premiums for government services. Overall, it claims $38 billion in taxes and spending cuts towards reducing the deficit, compared with $36 billion in the White House plan.
Reagan has threatened to veto any tax rate increase, and Wright said he wasn't sure the Congress could override him. "If the president is determined to obstruct deficit reduction, he can do that," he said.
Reagan submitted a budget with less than one-third that much in new taxes, mostly with technical changes in the law. He proposed raising a similar money total, however, with heavy reliance on selling government assets.
The president's domestic spending cut plans, including the elimination of dozens of federal programs, was unacceptable to the lawmakers. In a symbolic vote before approving the Democratic plan, the House rejected Reagan's budget, 394-27.
The Democratic plan would limit defense spending to $281.7 billion in outlays in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, about $15 billion less than the president's plan. New military budget authority, which covers spending commitments that stretch through multiple fiscal years, would be $288.7 billion, $23 billion under Reagan's request.
Republicans claimed the Democratic figures, which would hold Pentagon outlays essentially at current levels with no allowances for inflation, would force the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of troops. Democrats denied it.
The Democrats said overall they cut about $9 billion each from domestic and military accounts. However, about $2 billion of the domestic "cuts" actually would be user fees to offset costs of federal services.
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