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Panel okays Clinton budget

The House Budget Committee on Thursday approved the heart of President Clinton's 1995 budget plan after rejecting a Republican alternative that included a $500-per-child tax credit for middle- and upper-income families.

While voting 26-17 along party lines to adopt a $1.5-trillion budget resolution for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the Democratic-controlled committee trimmed $3.1-billion from Clinton's request to keep overall spending below a congressionally mandated ceiling.

The committee subtracted from and added to about 40 areas of the president's budget in reshaping the plan and achieving the overall spending reductions.

Some substantial changes included a $225-million reduction in defense spending, a $115-million cut in foreign aid, $550-million of cuts and delays in federal building construction and $796-million in savings from a proposed federal employee buyout plan.

At the same time, the committee voted to restore $494-million in spending for low-income home energy assistance, $100-million for mass transit capital and operating grants, $80-million for emergency food assistance and $63-million of spending authority for Rural Electrification Administration loan guarantees.

House Budget Committee chairman Martin Sabo, D-Minn., noted that the resolution calls for a substantial increase in spending for criminal justice programs, education and transportation, including full funding of the highway construction program.

Discretionary spending, the one-third of the budget that Congress has direct control over, would total $541.8-billion for the coming year, a slight decline from this year's total.

The remainder of the budget goes for mandatory programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and for interest on the federal debt.

The deficit for the coming year would total $175.3-billion, the lowest since 1985.

The committee rejected the GOP alternative, which included funds to begin implementing the Republican version of health care, welfare reform and crime control, as well as a proposal for a tax credit for families earning up to $200,000 a year.