Senate nears vote on Obama tax package

December 13, 2010


WASHINGTON — The Democratic-led Congress moved on Monday toward grudging approval of President Barack Obama’s deal with Republicans to extend expiring tax cuts, even for the wealthiest Americans.

A Senate vote is set for Monday on legislation that would avert a Jan. 1 increase in income taxes for nearly all Americans. The package faces a tougher sell in the House of Representatives, where Democrats have voted not to allow it to reach the floor without changes to scale back tax relief for the rich.

Backers were expected to muster on Monday the needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to clear a procedural hurdle, before passage on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The bill would then go to the House of Representatives for likely passage — despite the complaints from many Democrats that Obama conceded too much to Republicans.

At issue is the extension of tax breaks for Americans at all income levels. Those lower rates, that were put in place during the administration of former President George W. Bush, expire at the end of the year. Obama campaigned for the presidency and had routinely vowed during his first two years in office to keep the tax breaks in place for American households earning less than $250,000 a year.

The Republicans have been fighting that, insisting that the cuts remain in place for all income levels. The opposition party vowed to block any extension if the wealthy did not benefit as well.

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