WASHINGTON — The Senate Finance Committee approved an $11.6-billion tax plan today, challenging President Reagan's insistence that new taxes are not needed to help cut the federal deficit.
Republicans John H. Chafee of Rhode Island and John Heinz of Pennsylvania joined their Democratic colleagues in the 13-7 vote for the plan.
"We have a responsibility in this Congress to move," committee Chairman Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.) said shortly before the vote.
Reagan denounced the congressional money-raising plan--outlined in different forms by the Senate Finance Committee and passed late Thursday by the House Ways and Means Committee--as a "Democratic tax hike" and vowed to veto a tax package should it come to his desk.
Both the Senate and House measures were written as part of an effort to trim about $23 billion from the federal deficit in fiscal 1988.