Senate passes tax package 81-19, sending Obama deal to the House

 Senate passes tax package 81-19, sending Obama deal to the House

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to pass an $858 billion tax relief and benefits package, giving the bipartisan deal political momentum as it heads to the House.

The Senate voted 81 to 19 in favor of the deal struck by President Obama and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.).

“Middle class families need a boost in this economy, and that is exactly what this plan gives them," Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.) said in a statement after the vote. "It is not perfect, but it will create 2 million jobs, cut taxes for middle class families and small businesses, and ensure that Americans who are still looking for work will continue to have they safety net they rely on to make ends meet."

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The legislation now heads to the House, where Democrats are debating whether to rewrite the estate tax provision and substitute a 45-percent tax on estates over $3.5 million.

A House Democratic aide said the bill would be posted on the Rules Committee site by mid-afternoon Wednesday. Leadership aides in the House said it is not expected to receive a vote until Thursday.

The package extends almost all of the Bush tax cuts, including income tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest families, for two years and sets the estate tax at 35 percent for individual inheritances of more than $5 million.

It extends federal unemployment benefits for 13 months at a cost of $56.5 billion and cuts the Social Security payroll tax 2 percent, giving workers a $120 billion tax break for 2011.

Senate passage of the tax deal was all but assured after 83 senators voted on Monday evening to end an effort to delay it. All of the senators who opposed moving forward on the package Monday also voted against final passage. They were joined by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallIT modernization measure included in Senate-approved defense policy bill Live coverage: Sanders rolls out single-payer bill Where Dems stand on Sanders's single-payer bill MORE (D-N.M.), who voted to end the filibuster on Monday but voted against final passage.

The senators who voted against final passage were Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Tom CoburnTom Coburn-trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground Al Franken: 'I make fun of the people who deserved it' The more complex the tax code, the more the wealthy benefit MORE (R-Okla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), John Ensign (R-Nev.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Senate passes 0B defense bill MORE (D-N.Y.), Kay HaganKay HaganLinking repatriation to job creation Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock MORE (D-N.C.), Tom HarkinTom HarkinDistance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream MORE (D-Iowa), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Carl LevinCarl LevinPresident Trump, listen to candidate Trump and keep Volcker Rule Republicans can learn from John McCain’s heroism Trump and GOP wise to keep tax reform and infrastructure separate MORE (D-Mich.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill MORE (D-Ore.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight MORE (I-Vt.), Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every 'Dreamer' in state Mich. Senate candidate opts for House run instead NAACP sues Trump for ending DACA MORE (R-Ala.) and Mark UdallMark UdallDemocratic primary could upend bid for Colorado seat Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Gorsuch's critics, running out of arguments, falsely scream 'sexist' MORE (D-Colo.).

“My concern is that what happens in the Senate often is the short term becomes the enemy of the long term,” said Wyden. “This makes it tougher to deal with the debt and tax reform. At some point you have to break the procrastination.”

Retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) has called for all of the Bush-era tax cuts to expire to give Congress motivation to take up tax reform.

The co-chairmen of President Obama’s fiscal commission called for tax reform in a draft proposal earlier this year. They suggested eliminating all tax breaks and lowering the individual and corporate income tax rates.

The Senate went in the other direction Wednesday. The tax package includes a slew of business and energy tax relief provisions, such as the research and development tax credit; the ethanol tax credit; the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credit; the energy efficient homes tax credit; and cash grants for the wind and solar energy industry.

The package also includes a provision allowing businesses to deduct 100 percent of the cost of certain investments in 2011. It would also fix the Alternative Minimum Tax to shield an estimated 21 million taxpayers from higher taxes.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday the lopsided Senate vote to cut off a filibuster of the package had given it political momentum.