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House approves compromise tax bill

The House thinned its stack of remaining work Sunday as lawmakers raced toward adjournment, bracing for one veto fight with President Bush over cable television re-regulation and wondering if another loomed over taxes.

In a low-key, rare Sunday session, the House approved Congress' $2.3-billion budget for the new fiscal year, a compromise bill that ignored a 15 percent cut the Senate approved last week. The vote was 253-143. The Senate, which returns to work today, is to consider the measure next.

Lawmakers also debated legislation toughening the 120-year-old law that governs mining for copper and other "hard-rock" minerals on federal lands. The measure would impose the first royalties on such minerals removed from government property, and force miners to clean up scarred areas.

With leaders still hoping to send Congress home for the year by Tuesday, Congress worked on a list of priorities headed by a sweeping energy bill. The measure would make it easier for nuclear power plants to open and set efficiency standards for lights and motors.

The White House was hunting for votes to prevent Bush's veto of the cable television bill _ his 36th veto _ from becoming the first reversed by lawmakers. Supporters of the bill said the measure would help consumers by dampening rate increases.

Democrats realized the fight could cast Bush as anti-consumer. Bush has said the measure would burden cable companies with regulations and drive up rates.

Both chambers planned to try to override the veto today.

No one seemed to know what Bush would do on a compromise tax bill House-Senate bargainers agreed to late Saturday. Foley said the House would vote on it today.

The $27-billion measure contains expanded Individual Retirement Accounts, new urban aid programs and some relatively minor tax increases. Bush favors many of its contents, but his support was in question because it also would raise several minor taxes.

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