(supersedes)Rome, November 28 - The Lower House on Monday approved a bill covering the 2017 budget and the three-year budget for 2017-2019, which now passes to the Senate. The bill passed with 290 ayes and 118 nays. The 2017 budget is "rich with good news" after its passage through the House and "is not the Achille Lauro", a luxury liner hijacked by Palestinian militants in 1985, Premier Matteo renzi told reporters Monday. "Taxes will continue to come down," Renzi said. "No more (regional business tax) IRES, no more farming IRPEF (personal income tax), and cuts to the VAT". The 2017 budget earmarks 30-50 euros for pensions under 1,000 euros a month, and also sets aside funding for the renewal of public employee contracts. The government has added two billion euros to the national health budget, Renzi added at the joint press conference with Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan. "We increased it to 113 billion euros - two billion more compared to last year," Renzi said. He also said the government has allocated another 50 million euros to a fund for the incapacitated, bringing it to 450 million euros. "I hope everyone will appreciate the fact we got the budget approved in the Lower House before the (December 4 constitutional reform) referendum," he said, adding that the Senate has more than enough time to review it before the end of the year. The 2017 budget bill won't change in the event of a No win at the referendum, Renzi said. "It is a well-constructed budget bill and no one will be able to call its pillars into question," he said.
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