The Senate Budget Committee approved a set of congressional budget targets yesterday for fiscal 1980 that would yield a deficit of $28.9 billion-just below the $29 billion limit President Carter set last January, but $4 billion higher than the House Budget Committee recommended.
The plan would give Carter almost exactly what he asked for in military spending, but would make significant cuts in the president's proposals for a wide range of non-defense programs, from public service jobs to mass transit grants and foreign aid.
It also recommends-although without any binding authority-further budget cuts for coming years designed to produce a balanced budget by fiscal 1981, which begins a year from next October, and a $55 billion general income tax cut by fiscal 1982.
The measure stands in sharp contrast to a proposal by the House Budget Committee that would slash Carter's defense budget by $1.8 billion in outlays and $3 billion in new spending authority and would deny a White House request for $2.2 billion in added fiscal 1979 monies.
The only big cut in defense spending that the Senate panel made was to trim a Pentagon request to buy two of four destroyers ordered-and then canceled-by the Iranian government. The outlays would have been added to the fiscal 1979 budget.
Like the House resolution, however, the Senate measure makes no allowance in the budget for Carter's "real wage insurance" tax credit proposal, which had been designed to offer workers protection against inflation if they followed the administration's new wage guideline.
The action by the two panels effectively kills the real wage-insurance proposal, which had been a touch-stone of Carter's now-flaffing anti-inflation program. The House panel specifically voted to eliminate it from the budget. The Senate committee simply ignored it.
The Senate resolution also left intact a portion of the budget aimed at continuing general revenue-sharing grants to states. The House Budget Committee had voted to trim this, leaving the revenue-sharing program only for counties and cities.
The Senate panel's action paved the way for floor action on the budget some time in early May, with a fierce battle likely both in the full Senate and in conference with the House. Liberals are expected to protest the committee's cuts in social programs.
Under the new congressional budget process, the two houses are required to agree on preliminary budget targets by May 15, and then revise them after appropriations bills are passed in mid-September. The second set of targets then become binding spending ceilings.
The recommendations for fiscal 1980 and 1981 were informal proposals drafted in response to a new Senate mandate requiring the budget panel to compile a series of proposals for reaching a balanced budget. The move was designed to head off calls for a constitutional amendment.
The panel's fiscal 1980 proposals call for an overall spending level of $532.4 billion-a scant$100 million above the total that Carter proposed in January. The House Budget Committee proposed a spending total of $532.7 billion.
However, panel budget analysts said the totals themselves did not reflect fully all the differences among the three sets of estimates because each was based on different assumptions about the economy's performance, which could influence spending and revenue levels significantly.
Senate Budget Committee staffers said the panels actions actually cut Carter's overall budget by $7 billion, after the differing economic assumptions are reconciled. They said that using the same economic forecast that Carter employed, the panel would have ended up with a deficit of $19.4 billion. CAPTION: Picture, From left, Sens. Pete Domenici (R.N.M.), Henry Bellmon (D-Okla.) and Chairman Edmund Muskie (D-Maine) with Sen. William L. Armstrong (R-Colo.) in foreground at yesterday's Senate Budget Committee hearing. By James K. W. Atherton-The Washington Post