Holdouts Feeling The Gop Squeeze

There was no reprieve Wednesday for senators viewed as potential converts to the balanced-budget cause. “It is not an enviable position to find yourself in,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., whose vote was in play.

Republicans desperately seeking the single additional vote they needed to save the constitutional amendment were making overtures to four Democrats - Dorgan and Kent Conrad, also of North Dakota, Dianne Feinstein of California and Harry Reid of Nevada.

The battle for their votes promised to drag on until at least today, when the Senate was scheduled to come back in session.

The four Democrats say they cannot accept the use of the surpluses in the Social Security trust fund to balance the federal operating budget. GOP leaders were shopping around a plan that would gradually stop the practice over the next decade.


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