WASHINGTON &

Senators from Oregon and Washington voted Tuesday to reverse President Bush's cuts to education, health research and grants to local communities.







Democrats Ron Wyden of Oregon and Washington's Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, along with Oregon Republican Gordon Smith all voted for the bill.




It promises to be a protracted battle, and Bush has a decided advantage, but Democrats have seized on the massive health and education measure as the best measure with which to challenge Bush and his GOP allies in Congress.




The measure totals over $600 billion and reverses a raft of cuts sought by Bush to health research, special education and funding for grants to community groups that help the poor, among others.




The confrontation with Bush over domestic programs &

many of which are also popular with Republicans, as demonstrated by the margin of passage &

will come on the heels of the bruising veto battle over a children's health insurance bill.




Programs funded by the health and education bill affect schoolchildren, workers, the poor and disabled, the unemployed and those with special needs or drug and alcohol problems, among others.




The Senate measure, which exceeds Bush's budget by more than $10 billion, must be reconciled with a companion House measure passed in July before the legislation can be sent to Bush.




Bush is intent on issuing vetoes and has so far rebuffed Democratic pleas for negotiations. But Democrats and some Republicans hope that once he gets a few vetoes out of his system, the White House will signal a willingness to compromise.