The Senate is expected to approve the tax cuts package negotiated by President Barack Obama and Republican leaders, which will put pressure on the House of Representatives to pass the legislation before the Bush-era tax breaks expire on Dec. 31.
The bill, which includes a two-year extension for all Americans as well as a 13-month extension on unemployment benefits, cleared a procedural hurdle on Dec. 13, when Senators voted 83-15 to end debate on the measure. An official vote was expected as early as Dec. 14.
Last week, the House Democratic Caucus voted against considering the tax cut compromise. Obama has urged lawmakers to pass the legislation before the lame-duck congressional session ends, otherwise taxes would rise for all Americans.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) predicted that his chamber will ultimately pass the extensions, but perhaps with a few amendments. Some liberals would like to raise the estate tax, which would set the rate at 35 percent for estate values that exceed $5 million. Last year, the House passed a tax bill that set the rate at 45 percent for estate values that exceed $3.5 million.
Some House Republicans are considering proposing amendments that would reduce the amount of Federal spending in order to offset the costs of extended unemployment benefits.
"We're making no tough choices here — none," Representative Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told NPR. "I think people are sick and tired of us saying that we'll get around to cutting, and we never do."