Three presidents in a row have sought it, and tonight, President Clinton got it. About 9:30 p.m. EST, a weary Senate approved theGOP's line-item veto billby a 69-29 vote, giving Bill Clinton a powerful presidential tool that had eluded the best efforts of Ronald Reagan and George Bush. The House has already approved the idea, which allows presidents to kill individual sections of spending programs passed by Congress. The bill now goes to a House-Senate conference to iron out differences, and Clinton is expected to sign any final version quickly. Republicans celebrated the vote as a key victory for the "Contract With America." Said Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.): "This is a culmination of years and years and years of abusing the power of the purse." Coats pointed out that lawmakers had tried to pass such a bill more than 200 times since 1876. "This was definitely something the Republicans had to win, especially after their terrible defeat on the Balanced Budget Amendment," said TIME congressional correspondent Karen Tumulty. "This helps Bob Dole recoup his reputation as a leader."