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Friday, December 17, 2010

Congress sends tax bill to President Obama in time to avoid a Jan. 1 spike in income taxes


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Acting with uncommon speed, Congress sent President Barack Obama sweeping, bipartisan legislation late Thursday to avoid a Jan. 1 spike in income taxes for millions and renew jobless benefits for victims of the worst recession in 80 years.

The measure also will cut Social Security taxes for nearly every wage-earner and pump billions of dollars into the still-sluggish economy.

The 277-148 vote came less than 24 hours after the Senate cleared the bill, 81-19.

The legislation was the result of a reach across party lines between Obama and top Republicans in Congress - stubborn adversaries during two years of political combat that ended when the GOP emerged the undisputed winner in midterm elections on Nov. 2.

It would also renew an expiring program of benefits for the long-term unemployed, and enact a reduction in Social Security taxes for 2011 that would amount to $1,000 for an individual earning $50,000 a year. The bill's cost, $858 billion over two years, would be tacked on to the federal deficit, a sore spot with deficit hawks in both parties.
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