House Approves Democratic Budget for 2009 by Slim Margin

Democrats have given final approval to a budget blueprint for 2009 that rewards agencies and the Pentagon with generous spending increases. But it leaves it up to the next president to decide about curbing Medicare costs and increasing taxes.

The House approved the $3.1 trillion plan by a 214-210 vote Thursday.

The measure sets guidelines for future action by Congress. It does not go to President Bush.

The plan rests on questionable assumptions to predict a small budget surplus by 2012 after seven years of deficits under the Republican president.

It would achieve the goal by allowing many Bush tax cuts to expire on schedule in 2 1/2 years and predicting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will not cost anything after next year.