Congress approved a $1.45 trillion budget Wednesday, capping an unusually easy budget year.

The budget requires no presidential signature, because Congress uses it to set spending limits on itself for the 1992 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.The Senate approved the measure along party lines, 57-41, after the House passed it, 239-181. (Utah's three House members voted against the budget bill.)

Most Senate Republicans - including Utah's Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch - opposed the measure, saying they were unhappy Democrats removed a provision that would have required a three-fifths vote of the Senate to raise taxes.

The budget includes a projected record deficit of $278.8 billion, exceeding the 1986 deficit of $221 billion.

The budget process was made easier because the deficit and other elements were set last fall in a five-year budget agreement reached after months of negotiations between the Republican administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

The budget recommends higher spending on education and lower spending on space exploration than did the administration's proposal. Those decisions ultimately will be made in the appropriations process.

The House Appropriations Committee has already started work on allocations, and its priorities differ in a number of areas from the budget resolution.

"It's not a budget, it's a wish list," Rep. Willis Gradison of Ohio, ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, said during the budget debate.

The appropriators are limited by the overall caps on discretionary spending in the budget: $200 billion for domestic spending, $291 billion for military spending and $19.8 billion for international spending.