Sen. Robert W. Kasten Jr. (R-Wis.) was adamant in protecting revenue sharing and Urban Development Action Grants. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) wanted more money for the U.S. Information Agency. Sen. Mark Andrews (R-N.D.) wanted to keep his distance. And Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) wanted to get an agreement and turn it over to the full Senate.
In the end, weary and frustrated Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee banded together late Wednesday and approved a budget package that outdid President Reagan in cutting the deficit, angered and confounded Democrats on the panel and faces a rocky future on the Senate floor and beyond.
They were motivated by many factors: campaign promises to cut the deficit; respect for their chairman, Domenici; a recognition that hopes for a bipartisan coalition were gone; a desire to avoid the embarrassment of continuing deadlock, and the hope of forcing Reagan to become engaged more intimately in a solution.
But to get there, Domenici and others had spent most of Wednesday cajoling, compromising and fine-tuning the package -- and holding their breath until they had an agreement from all 12 Republicans on the committee to either support a Domenici-inspired package or at least not vote against it.
When it was over late Wednesday night, Domenici hailed the Republican package as "very courageous" and "a good budget." Hatch said what they had done was "historic."
Sen. Steve Symms (R-Idaho) said he went along because it gave him "maximum flexibility" and because "we had to get something out." And Andrews voted "yes" and called the package "a turkey."
Since early December, the Senate Republicans had been struggling to produce a budget. Led originally by Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.), the Republicans had marched off in search of a package, saying they would not wait for Reagan to produce his own budget.
By Wednesday morning, "It became clear that if there was going to be a budget, it was going to be a Republican budget," one Republican senator said.
Hatch said, "The financial community cannot tolerate one more gutless Congress."
Domenici, who started the committee's drafting process by offering a budget package calling for roughly $64 billion in cuts, had been at work for several days on a compromise in the neighborhood of $55 billion.
Working with his staff and other senators, the New Mexican had pieced together this new budget from earlier votes taken by the committee and from his understanding of what fellow Republicans might be prepared to support.
Then came the debates, discussions and fine-tuning, which would last until almost 9 p.m.
Senators shuttled in and out of Domenici's office throughout the afternoon, while the committee staff worked furiously to make the numbers add up. Some of the final negotiations occurred by telephone between Domenici's war room and the Monocle restaurant a few blocks away, where several Republican senators were having dinner.
"I wanted UDAGs [urban development action grants]," Kasten said yesterday. "They were terminated by the administration and not in Domenici's original working papers."
Kasten, who is up for reelection in 1986, had worked closely with city officials in Milwaukee and elsewhere to bring in federal money and he was not willing to give up in the face of presidential recommendations.
"I said, 'I need some help,' " he said.
The UDAG program was reinserted, though cut 20 percent.
Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) was one of several senators who wanted to restore funds for the Export-Import Bank. The Bank has long been important to legislators from Washington, the home of Boeing, which has used the loans to sell planes abroad. Reagan had called for an end to direct loans by the bank and the committee had voted to go along, while adding a $1 billion war chest to protect domestic industries from "predatory attacks" from foreign competitors.
Domenici agreed to eliminate the war chest and restore direct loans. Part of Wednesday afternoon was spent haggling over whether to provide $1 billion or $1.25 billion (down from the current $3.8 billion). In the end, the higher figure prevailed.
Hatch, who earlier had fought to save the Job Corps program, over which he presides as chairman of the Labor and Human Resources Committee, put in a bid for the USIA.
"I felt if we were going to cut the military as we had done, then we can compete with the Soviet Union in the world of ideas," Hatch said.
The USIA budget had been cut about $400 million and Hatch wanted money restored. He argued that the Soviets outspend the United States in that area by 4 to 1 and that the USIA's operating budget was not much bigger than a decade ago.
How much did he get? "I don't know," Hatch said, adding that he had been assured that the staff would put some money back in. He said he believed it would be about $200 million.
Sen. William Armstrong (R-Colo.) was adamant about cutting the deficit. Domenici took an Armstrong-approved proposal on housing programs.
Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.), who heads the Senate Commerce Committee, got some funds restored for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as for multilateral banks.
Andrews, an outspoken farm-state Republican, wanted the resolution to include new taxes, as well as stiff cuts in defense and domestic spending. He said he told Domenici he would support the Republican resolution if it went beyond a freeze on domestic spending, which it did.
But Andrews also told Domenici, according to another Republican senator, he wanted the right to make it clear in public that he did not think this represented a final solution. He called it "a turkey," and predicted that almost half the cuts would not survive on the Senate floor.
"I'm also appalled it was a straight party vote," Andrews added. "There's no way you can carry it in the Senate and the House unless we make it bipartisan."
One of the last agreements came around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday over revenue sharing. Reagan proposed to eliminate it. Kasten and others wanted to protect it.
When the budget package emerged Wednesday night, the compromise called for funding for two more years -- but at only half the current level.
What finally brought around the Republicans on the Budget Committee may have been a combination of fatigue and expediency. Andrews spoke for many of his colleagues yesterday in explaining why he had voted for a package he didn't like.
"I'm a team player," he said. "I agree it's time to get it out.