Senate Appears Ready To Pass Tax Package
DON GONYEA, host:
And now for an update on the deal that President Obama worked out with Senate Republicans. The measure, which would extend all the Bush era tax cuts, appears to be headed for passage in the Senate tomorrow. In a key procedural vote last night, the Senate agreed to limit debate on the measure. But as NPR's David Welna reports, the legislation's next stop would be the House, where Democrats intend to scale back a key provision on the estate tax.
DAVID WELNA: Five Republicans joined ten Democrats to vote against moving the tax cut and unemployment insurance package forward. But with the clock ticking down in the lame duck session, 83 of their colleagues decided to advance the measure. Shortly before the last vote was cast, President Obama hailed the outcome at the White House, and he clearly saw the deal heading soon to the House.
President BARACK OBAMA: I urge the House of Representatives to act quickly on this important matter, because if there's one thing we can agree on, it's the urgent work of protecting middle-class families, for moving uncertainty for America's businesses, and giving our economy a boost as we head into the new year.
WELNA: But earlier in the day, House majority leader Steny Hoyer told reporters there's much consternation in the House about the proposal's estate tax provision. House Democrats, he said, find it too generous to the wealthy and prefer the farther reaching plan that the House approved last year. Hoyer indicated House Democrats will seek to substitute their provision for the one President Obama agreed on with Republicans.
Representative STEVNY HOYER (Democrat, Maryland): There certainly seems to me to be some room for change which may or may not be perceived by some as significant.
WELNA: The question is whether modifying the estate tax provision in the House might cause the whole deal to unravel. Such a change would require Senate approval as well, and Republicans there say it could prove a deal breaker.
David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol.
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