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Senate advances vote on tax cut extensions

by Adam Russett on December 14, 2010

The Senate delivered a bipartisan vote on Monday to advance voting and end the debate over the Bush-era tax cut extensions that are set to expire on December 31, making the eventual approval of the measure increasingly probable.

The package that Barack Obama collaborated on with Republicans is set for final consideration in the Senate this week.

If approved, the extensions will face a House vote, where Democratic opposition may present a greater challenge for the measure. House Democrats oppose extending tax cuts to those who make more than $250,000 a year, as well as a provision that would offer $5 million and $10 million exemptions for individuals and couples on their estate taxes, according to NPR.

Obama insisted that the measure would do more good than harm, extending tax cuts for most Americans in general and prompting a renewal of the recently expired unemployment benefits for another 13 months as well. Obama maintained that he opposed the tax cuts for upper-income households, reports the New York Times.

The tax cuts would also potentially add $858 billion to the deficit over the next two years.

Obama said following the advancement that it "proves that both parties can, in fact, work together to grow our economy and look out for the American people."

The 83-15 Senate vote was what the Washington Post calls "the most significant bipartisan vote since President Obama took office" and represents the first measure during his presidency that appeased Republicans rather than Democrats, the news source reports.

More Democrats than Republicans voted in favor of the measure, however, with 45 and 37 approvals, respectively, the New York Times reports.

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