Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Senate Imposes Budget Cuts - Barely - That Trim Medicaid and Student Loans ; Vice President Cheney Cast Deciding Vote, but Democrats Force Delays That Will Cause GOP to Take Up the Bill in '06

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Senate Imposes Budget Cuts - Barely - That Trim Medicaid and Student Loans ; Vice President Cheney Cast Deciding Vote, but Democrats Force Delays That Will Cause GOP to Take Up the Bill in '06

Article excerpt

Kicking off a marathon day of key votes and procedural jousting, the Senate Wednesday passed a $39.7 billion budget cuts package. Vice President Cheney, rushing back from an overseas trip, cast his vote to break the 50-50 tie.

But Democrats, citing violations of Senate rules, also succeeded in forcing changes in the bill that now send it back to the House for final consideration, expected early next year.

If it clears the House, the bill would mark the first cut in the growth of mandatory spending in programs such as Medicare and Medicaid since 1997, including $6.4 billion shaved from Medicare and $4.7 billion from Medicaid over the next five years. Overall, the bill cuts spending by less than 0.5 percent.

Republicans argue that the bill is needed the bill to slow the growth of entitlement spending, expected to rise to 62 percent of total federal spending in the next decade, if no action is taken. "Without some changes, these important programs . …

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