WASHINGTON (AP) -- Top Senate Republicans say they are intent on restoring President Bush's proposed $1.6 trillion, 10-year tax cut to near its original size, now that the heart of his economic blueprint has suffered its first bruises.
In the first real blow to Bush's fiscal plans, the Senate tentatively voted Wednesday to reduce the tax cut by $450 billion and distribute that money evenly between education and debt reduction. The 53-47 vote came as senators continued debating a $1.94 trillion GOP budget for 2002 that would pave the way for Bush's tax proposal.
Minutes earlier, moderate Republican Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont said he expected to vote against the GOP budget "unless a miracle occurs." Jeffords said the $1.6 trillion tax cut would drain money from education funds for the disabled, a program he has championed for 26 years in Congress.
The twin setbacks ignited an intensive effort by the White House and GOP leaders to woo Jeffords back into the fold while pumping the tax cut's size back up. Top Republicans predicted they would do so -- and push the budget through the Senate -- by week's end.
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