Tax Cut Bill Passed by Senate

House expected to take up legislation the next day

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The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 by a vote of 81-19, The tax package, which extends the Bush-era tax rates for two years and extends unemployment insurance for 13 months, now goes to the House, where it is expected to be considered on Thursday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in comments on Dec. 13 that both the House Ways and Means and Rules committees would consider the bill before it comes to the House floor. Hoyer also said the House would attempt to make changes to the bill, particularly to the estate tax provision, which would set the estate tax personal exemption at $5 million and the maximum rate at 35% for two years.

The Securities Industry and Financial Market Association (SIFMA) applauded the Senate's passage of the bill. "The Senate took a critical step today toward putting the economic recovery on ground by providing America's investors the necessary certainty they need," said Kenneth Bentsen, SIFMA's executive vice president of public policy. "Maintaining current tax rates on capital gains and dividends over the next two years will help encourage savings and investment, thus promoting economic growth and job creation."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said during a press briefing on Wednesday that following Senate passage of the tax package, the Senate has a busy schedule ahead of it and plans to work over the weekend to bring the START Treaty to the Senate floor followed by the omnibus spending bill.

In comments earlier this week, President Obama said he’s been talking with members of the House and that he recognized “that folks on both sides of the political spectrum are unhappy with certain parts of the package, and I understand those concerns. I share some of them. But that’s the nature of compromise -- sacrificing something that each of us cares about to move forward on what matters to all of us. Right now, that’s growing the economy and creating jobs. And nearly every economist agrees that that is what this package will do.”

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