Easy Win in the Senate

An earliest ever budget measure passes; stimulus might face trouble

"THE WHIP HAS BEEN CRACKED," GRUMBLED REpublican curmudgeon Jesse Helms. Yes, and hard enough that a rare visit by Vice President Al Gore to the Senate chamber turned out to be totally unnecessary; there was no tie for him to break. President Bill Clinton's budget resolution sailed through, 54 to 45, with only two Democrats joining a solid Republican bloc in opposition to the proposal.

That result was foreshadowed by a closer vote on a Republican amendment attacking what the G.O.P. claims is the President's most unpopular proposal: to impose income tax on 85% of the Social Security pensions of upper-income...

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