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US Senate Set for Tax Deal Vote


U.S. senators are holding a final debate on a bill to extend income tax cuts passed under former President George W. Bush.

The Senate scheduled a Wednesday vote on the $858-billion measure, which represents a controversial compromise between President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers.

If the bill passes as expected, it would move on to the House of Representatives, where many members of Mr. Obama's Democratic Party are upset about the compromise, which they say is too generous to the wealthy.

President Obama and Democratic lawmakers originally had hoped to extend tax cuts for individuals only on the first $200,000 they earned in a year, and for families on their first $250,000. But Republicans were adamant that all cuts should be extended.

House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Monday he expects the House to pass the bill.

The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year. The new measure would extend them for two years.

The package also extends jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for 13 months, imposes a 2 percent cut in payroll taxes, and sets a 35 percent tax rate for multi-million-dollar estates.

House Democrats have been pushing for an estate tax rate of 45 percent.

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