WASHINGTON - Democratic leaders may decide to steer President Clinton's budget package through the Senate this month by bypassing the narrowly divided Senate Finance Committee, the bill's next scheduled battleground, members of Congress said late last week.

That possibility emerged late Thursday after the House approved the $500 billion package by 219 votes to 213, a slim victory that the President and Democratic leaders squeezed out through hardball politics and heavy deal making. Senate aides said the political maneuvering will only increase as the bill faces the even tougher fights ahead in the Senate.

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