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US Senate Approves $3 Trillion Budget Plan


The U.S. Senate has approved a $3 trillion budget plan that extends some of President Bush's tax cuts, including relief for the working poor.

The Democratic-controlled Senate approved the measure early Friday by a vote of 51-44, mostly along party lines. Lawmakers debated for 15 hours.

The Senate budget plans for the 2009 fiscal year must be reconciled with a similar budget measure approved in the House of Representatives.

The Senate endorsed tax relief for people with children and married couples, but it rejected other tax cuts, many of which would benefit wealthier Americans.

Before passing the budget, Senate lawmakers rejected a one-year ban on earmarks - spending allocations for projects favored by specific members of Congress. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain had called for a ban on that special spending.

All three major presidential candidates, McCain and Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, interrupted their campaigns to cast votes. All voted in favor of banning earmarks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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