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House Resolves Tax-Cut Snafu; Moves To Debate

After stalling earlier in the day when liberal members balked at voting to allow the Obama-GOP tax cut deal to advance, the pact survived an important test vote Thursday evening.

The 214-201 vote allowed House members to begin debating the actual legislation that would extend for two years the Bush-era tax cuts as well as an extension of unemployment insurance benefits for the long-term jobless.

The House action cleared the way for a vote as early Thursday evening on the $858 billion package of tax cuts, jobless benefits and other measures that President Obama said will be an important stimulus to the economy.

Economist have said the package could add 1 percentage point of growth to the economy which has grew in the third quarter at a 2.5 percent annual rate.

If the measure, already passed by the Senate wins House approval, it would clear the way for the legislation to be sent to President Obama for his signature.

Liberal Democrats had recoiled at an estate-tax provision in the compromise which they felt was too generous to the nation's wealthiest families.

Their anger was also kindled by the sense that they had been cut out of negotiations between the White House and congressional Republicans.

Many Republicans were displeased with the final compromise as well, saying they preferred a permanent extension of tax cuts to all taxpayers, including the wealthiest.

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