Senate Sends Cuts to Clinton Bill Slashes $16.4 Billion

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The Senate ended four months of partisan wrangling over a bill to cut this year's spending by $16.4 billion, passing it Friday on a 90-7 vote and sending it to the White House.

The support for the bill, which President Bill Clinton has said he will sign, belied the rancorous debate that raged in both houses - and between the president and the Republican-controlled Congress.

Cuts for education, job training and several programs that help the poor were the main points of contention in the so-called rescissions bill, which rolls back spending in the $1.5 trillion budget for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

"If you think this was a struggle, wait'll you see what's coming," said Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., who had held up the rescissions bill since early July in an unsuccessful attempt to restore $319 million in home heating and cooling subsidies to low-income people, a program known as LIHEAP. "This is just the beginning."

In its original effort, the bill cut even deeper into domestic spending to offset the cost of disaster aid for California's earthquake , the Oklahoma City bombing and 36 other states. Clinton, on June 7, vetoed that bill.

After nearly a month of negotiations between the White House and Republican congressional leaders, the House passed a recycled version of the bill that restored $772 million in education, job-training, environmental and other domestic programs favored by the administration.

But the bill got snagged in the Senate when Wellstone and Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, D-Ill., objected to cuts in the heating and energy assistance program for low-income people and some inner-city school construction funds.

After weeks of haggling, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., agreed to give the dissident senators an up-or-down vote on separate amendments to put back money for the energy assistance and school programs. …