Tax Cut Package Easily Passes Senate

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Tax cut package easily passes SenateThe Senate overwhelmingly voted in support of a $858 billion tax cut package on Dec. 15, which sends the bill to an uncertain fate in the House of Representatives.

Senators voted 81-19 to pass legislation that includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax breaks for all Americans, which are set to expire on Dec. 31. The bill, if passed, would also extend unemployment benefits for 13 months, cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points for a year and restore the estate tax to a lower level.

According to CNN, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that his chamber was set to take up the bill on Dec. 16. Several House Democrats want to set the estate tax rate at 45 percent for inheritances up to $3.5 million. The package approved by the Senate includes a 35 percent tax for estates worth at least $5 million.

However, more than two dozen moderate House Democrats submitted a letter to the chamber's leaders, calling on their support for the compromise package between President Barack Obama and GOP leaders. Senate Republicans have warned that any Democratic changes made to the bill in the House may derail the entire proposal.

"If the House Democratic leadership decides to make partisan changes, they will ensure that every American taxpayer will see a job-killing tax hike on Jan. 1," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.) said in a statement, quoted by CNN.

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