The Senate adopted a proposal yesterday that would modestly reduce the U.S. debt through higher taxes for top earners as part of the first budget plan the Democratic-controlled body has passed in four years.

The $3.7 trillion budget proposal, which won’t take effect, highlights differences between Democrats and Republicans over taxes, spending and the size of government. The vote clears the way for the next phase in Washington’s budget battle, which will probably revolve around the need to raise the U.S. debt limit. Federal borrowing authority is scheduled to expire May 19.

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