U.S. Senate approves 1st federal budget in 4 years

Washington, Mar 23 (EFE).- The United States Senate approved early Saturday by a slim margin its first budget in four years, which includes nearly $1 trillion in tax hikes over the next 10 years.

With 50 votes in favor and 49 against, the Senate approved before dawn a $3.7 trillion federal budget for the fiscal year 2014, after voting on numerous amendments throughout the night.

No Republicans supported the bill, while four Democrats who are likely to face tough battles in the November 2014 mid-term elections also rejected the measure.

Over the past four years, the Democrat-controlled Senate had passed stopgap measures to finance federal government operations.

The new budget proposal includes, among other elements, tax increases of $970 billion, modest cuts in a number of domestic programs, and a $100 billion investment in public works to stimulate job creation.

In a communique, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney praised Saturday the approval of the budget plan in the Senate, considering that it "will create jobs and cut the deficit in a balanced way."

"Like the president's plan, the Senate budget cuts wasteful spending, makes tough choices to strengthen entitlements, and eliminates special tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthiest Americans to reduce the deficit," he said.

Referring to a rival plan approved Thursday by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Carney said it does not eliminate tax breaks for the wealthy but "makes deep cuts to education and manufacturing while asking seniors and the middle class to pay more."

The plans served to set out the parties' competing visions, but analysts say they have little chance of becoming law.