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Senate OKs Tax Cut Bill in 81-19 Vote

The Senate passed a bill to extend existing tax cuts at all income levels by a wide margin Wednesday, sending the $858 billion measure on to the House — and the likelihood of a new round of debate.

The bill was approved in a 81-19 vote.

President Obama brokered a compromise with the GOP to extend the package of tax cuts schedule to expire Jan. 1. The deal also cuts Social Security payroll taxes by 2 percent for one year, and sets a top rate of 35 percent on a new estate tax.

The bill has elicited sharp criticism among many Democrats who had long pledged to discontinue tax cuts for high-income individuals.

“I know there are different aspects of this plan to which members of Congress on both sides of the aisle object. That’s the nature of compromise,” the president said. “But we worked to negotiate an agreement that’s a win for middle-class families and a win for our economy, and we can’t afford to let it fall victim to either delay or defeat.”

House Democratic leaders said they expect to vote on the bill Thursday. The measure may face more resistance in the House, but it is still widely expected to pass.

The Morning Line has more on the political climate surrounding the bill. And Paul Solman recently took a closer look at an interactive tax cut graphic that helps explain what the measure means for individuals.

Last week, the NewsHour asked economic experts Paul Krugman and Stephen Moore to debate the pros and cons of the deal:

On Wednesday’s NewsHour, we’ll look more closely at what the measure means for the estate tax. Stay tuned.

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