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Senate May Boost E.D. Budget

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Washington--In a move that could result in a spending increase for federal education programs, the Senate last week rejected a budget that had been worked out by the Republican leadership and the Reagan Administration.

The action came on a resolution setting broad spending and taxation targets for the fiscal year 1984, which begins on Oct. 1. The Senate disapproved, by a vote of 52 to 48, a budget resolution that would have set a "ceiling" for the Education Department's budget at $14.9 billion next year.

As of late last week, two other "alternative" resolutions were pending, each of which would permit the department's budget to increase from the current level of approximately $15 billion to nearly $16 billion.

The two resolutions included one approved by the Senate Budget Committee, known as SConRes 27, and another supported by a group of moderate Republicans led by Senators John Chaffee of Rhode Island and Lowell P. Weicker of Connecticut.

Both budgets are opposed by the Reagan Administration, although the budget resolution does not require the signature of the President. Mr. Reagan sent the Senate a message last week that said, in effect, that he would rather have no budget at all than one that increased taxes, as does the moderate Republicans' version.

The prospects for passage of the education-spending increase were uncertain, although the Senate did, on May 6, give its symbolic support to a proposal by Senator Ernest Hollings, Democrat of South Carolina, to increase the department's budget by $1 billion.

The approval was widely attributed to a fervor for school reform, resulting largely from the recommendations of the National Commission on Excellence in Education. Senator Hollings praised the report in introducing his proposal, and he asked that a copy of the report be inserted into the Congressional Record.

If the Senate is unable to reach agreement on any of the budget resolutions that were pending late last week, Senator Howard H. Baker, the majority leader, was considered likely to ask the Budget Committee to withdraw its budget and to work out a new version.

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