Italy's upper house to vote on budget facing EU deadline

MILAN (AP) — The Italian Senate is set to vote on a new budget that expands the social spending pledged by the populist government, amid opposition complaints that the process has been rushed to satisfy an EU deadline.

The nearly 200-page document arrived in the Senate on Saturday just hours before the vote was scheduled and without proper vetting by the parliament's budget office. Opposition lawmakers called the process, which ties the passage to a vote of confidence in the government, a farce.

Both houses must pass the new budget by the end of the year to satisfy the EU Commission, which accepted the Italy's revisions on Wednesday that lowered the budget deficit to 2.04 percent of GDP from 2.4 percent.

Analysts say the budget delays painful measures until next year to satisfy campaign pledges.