BUDGET HOME STRETCH

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FYI: The Senate passed a massive spending bill yesterday for the fiscal year that began last October, bundling 11 non-defense related appropriations bills into one package. In order to keep the bill’s total under the $389.5 billion cap the White House is insisting upon (by threat of veto), GOP leaders fended off dozens of Democratic amendments. Those amendments that passed, including a $300 million boost for home heating aid, prompted across the board reductions of 2.9 percent to offset the cost. Nevertheless, the bill passed with $390.5 billion in spending, and must now be reconciled with the House’s more spendthrift version. [1/24/03]