The controversial and long-debated tax bill has finally been moved and approved through both of the United States houses of Congress. Last night the House of Representatives approved the compromise tax bill that has been the source of congressional gridlock since the Lame Duck Congress came back into session. It now heads back to the President for his signature.
Extension of Bush-era tax cuts and more
The bill is estimated to cost about $858 billion and was negotiated by the President and the top Senate Republicans. There had been rumors that members of the House might request changes to the bill, in particular as they relate to the estate tax, but that did not happen. The final vote, last night, was 277-148 and had equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans showing support.
The bill, according to a report at CNN, extends the Bush-era tax cuts for two years, and that includes tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens. However, the bill will also extend unemployment benefits for Americans still out of work for 13 months. It will also cut the payroll tax by 2 percent for a year. The controversial estate tax will be held at a lower level and the bill also extends some other tax breaks.
Republican leaders had been stopping debate over any other legislation until the tax breaks for the wealthy were passed. However, a few weeks ago, President Obama and Senate Republican leaders met at the White House to work out a compromise. President Obama stated, earlier this week, that he understood that the compromise was not popular among his supporters and some in his party, but that it was necessary to move forward.