Washington - The Senate gave final congressional approval to President Clinton's $1.5 trillion fiscal 1995 budget yesterday, a little more than a week after the House approved the compromise plan.
The measure, approved on a 53-46 vote after two days of sporadic debate, includes $13 billion more in spending cuts over five years than either Clinton or congressional leaders originally proposed. The cuts were agreed to after House and Senate conferees split the difference between the Senate plan, which called for $26.1 billion in added cuts, and the House version, which followed Clinton's spending plan.
The Senate did not begin debate on the final measure until Wednesday when a congressional contingent returned from South Africa where they attended the swearing-in of Nelson Mandela as the country's first black president. The final vote also was delayed because the Senate suspended debate on the measure several times over the last two days to take action on other pending legislation.
The $13 billion in added spending cuts are slated to come from the one-third of the budget that is composed of discretionary programs, including domestic, defense, and foreign aid spending. But some congressional aides have indicated that the cuts are likely to come from defense because the administration wants to protect domestic programs that already have tight budgets. The actual acts are scheduled to be made by the appropriations committees before the new fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.
The budget agreement calls for a fiscal 1995 budget deficit of $175.4 billion, about $100 billion less than Congress and the administration projected last year.