Despite lengthy delays, Democratic objections and criticism of President Obama for forging a compromise with Senate Republicans last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $858 billion tax bill at around midnight last night by a vote of 277 to 148.
The deal extends the Bush tax cuts for all income levels through 2012, temporarily cuts the 6.2 percent payroll tax for all workers to 4.2 percent, extends unemployment benefits through 2011, for Americans out of work up to 99 weeks, extends college tuition tax credits, child tax credits and allows businesses to write off capital investments made from Sept. 9 through the end of 2011. It also contains a provision exempting as much as $5 million from the inheritance tax and subject estates in excess of that amount to a 35 percent tax.
A coalition of 112 Democrats and 36 Republicans voted nay, while 139 Democrats and 138 Republicans voted yea.
On Wednesday, the identical bill was passed by a vote of 81-19 by the Senate; all that remains is Obama’s signature.Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid pulled the $1.1 trillion earmark –loaded Omnibus Appropriations bill after Republicans who said they would support it, changed their minds. In place of the bill, he said he would ask the Senate to pass a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government through current levels through the New Year until the Senate reconvenes and the fight can begin again.