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Mar 10,2009
Budget battle brewing among Democrats
by UPI

WASHINGTON - In-fighting among Democrats and policy disagreements with the White House may make fashioning a federal budget document difficult, congressional leaders say.

Congressional Democrats and the administration are at odds over major initiatives in President Barack Obama's budget proposal, including proposed limits on tax deductions for the wealthiest 1.2 percent of taxpayers; cutting some agri-business subsidies; reducing spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security; and capping greenhouse emissions, The New York Times (NYSE:NYT) reported Tuesday.

"The legislative process requires compromise and being open to different alternatives," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Committee leaders disagree with the administration on how to fill in details of Obama's budget outline, and they must contend with dissent within their ranks not only on the president's blueprint but also a spending bill necessary to keep Washington running through the end of this fiscal year, The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) said.

Concerning the appropriations bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has been trying to hold off a Republican bloc seeking to remove more than 8,500 pet projects from the measure while still rounding the 60 votes necessary to move the bill along. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is withholding his support to protest a provision that would ease U.S. rules on travel and imports to Cuba.

By allowing Republicans to offer a total of 11 amendments Monday and Tuesday, Reid hoped GOP support for the bill would grow and he would not need Menendez's vote when the bill comes to a final vote, expected Tuesday, the Post said.

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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