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US Senate to Vote on Competing Budget Bills

US Senate to Vote on Competing Budget Bills
US Senate to Vote on Competing Budget Bills

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote as early as Tuesday on two budget bills, highlighting the fiscal battle between Republicans and Democrats as a deadline to reach an agreement looms.

Lawmakers are likely to reject both bills -- a Republican-sponsored measure that slashes $60 billion from the 2011 budget, and a Democrat-supported bill that makes far less drastic reductions.

The Republican-backed legislation includes cuts to domestic agencies and social programs.  Democrats who control the Senate argue that such cuts could cost jobs and threaten economic recovery.

But some Democrats are also hesitant to accept their own party's bill, which would cut about $6.5 billion from the budget.  Moderate Democrats facing tough re-elections want to appeal to voters demanding bigger reductions in government spending.

Though passage is unlikely, the votes will reveal which party's bill has more support.

Congress is under pressure to reach a compromise soon, to avoid a government shutdown that could occur after a short-term funding measure expires in just over a week.  Congress has not passed a budget for the current fiscal year, which began October 1.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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