Delay in House Efforts to Pass Tax Package

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BY VOA NEWS – A massive tax cut package that U.S. President Barack Obama negotiated with Republicans hit a snag in the House of Representatives Thursday.

A procedural problem forced Democratic leaders to delay debate and voting Thursday. The Democrats who support the bill predict it will still pass in the chamber — even though many members of Mr. Obama’s party oppose parts of the deal.


The Senate overwhelmingly passed the controversial compromise bill Wednesday.

The $858 billion measure maintains tax cuts for the middle class, as well as the wealthiest Americans. It is the result of a compromise between Mr. Obama and Republican lawmakers. Mr. Obama and Democrats had wanted to let the tax cuts for the wealthiest expire.

The bill also extends jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and imposes a 2 percent cut in payroll taxes.

Mr. Obama has urged House lawmakers to support the bill, calling it an “essential economic package.”

But many Democrats say the compromise is too generous to the wealthy. House Democrats oppose the 35 percent tax rate the bill sets for multi-million-dollar estates, saying the rate should instead be 45 percent.

House Democrats have warned that they would push their own version of the bill with a higher estate tax.

The tax cuts enacted under then President George W. Bush are set to expire at the end of the year. The new measure would extend them for two years.