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Congress OKs Obama budget plan

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Congress OKs Obama budget plan
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a press conference at the end of the G20 Summit at the ExCel Centre in London on April 4, 2009. (UPI Photo/Rune Hellestad) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate voted Thursday night to approve President Barack Obama's $3.5 trillion spending plan.

Like the House vote earlier Thursday, the Senate vote of 55-43 was largely along party lines. The House vote was 233-196 on a modified version of the budget Obama proposed in February, The Washington Post reported.

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The matter will go before a House-Senate conference committee where differences between the two measures would be mediated.

The spending plan lays the groundwork for a number of priorities Obama campaigned on during the 2008 presidential election, but it does scale back some of his spending plans for the fiscal year that begins in October, the newspaper said.

It also provides less in tax cuts than Obama had proposed, gives the green light to begin expansion of healthcare coverage for uninsured Americans, provides more money for higher education loans and calls for a cap-and-trade system to reduce gases associated with climate change.

Obama called the House vote "another step toward rebuilding our struggling economy."

"This budget resolution embraces our most fundamental priorities: an energy plan that will end our dependence on foreign oil and spur a new clean energy economy; an education system that will ensure our children will be able to compete in the economy of the 21st century; and health care reform that finally confronts the back-breaking costs plaguing families, businesses and government alike," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House. "And by making hard choices and challenging the old ways of doing business, we will cut in half the budget deficit we inherited within four years."

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No House Republicans voted for the budget bill and 20 Democrats voted against it. No Senate Republicans voted for the budget and two Democrats joined Republicans in voting against it, the Post said.

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