Tax bill passes Congress and extends Bush tax cuts
The tax bill that has been the subject of a fair amount of partisan bickering has been passed by Congress. The bill extends cuts in taxes instituted during the Bush administration, thus they’re commonly referred to as the Bush tax cuts. The bill was passed by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats.
House of Representatives passes tax bill
Despite objections from members of both parties over the final, compromised version of the bill, the tax bill extending the Bush era tax cuts has passed the House of Representatives, according to the Washington Post. After the Senate tax bill passed, the bill had to clear the House before legislators left on a break. President Obama has said that the bill contains flaw, but that not signing it would do more harm than good. Criticisms were made about the bill from both sides of the aisle, but the bill passed after some bipartisan collaboration. The House voted 277 to 148 in favor of the bill, with 36 Republicans and 112 Democrats voting against.
What the bill does
Current income tax rates remain unchanged, according to CNN. The ceiling for exemptions from the Alternative Minimum Tax is raised to $47,450 for individuals and $72,450 for couples filing jointly. For 2011, it increases to $48,450 and $73,450. Payroll tax going to Social Security for workers earning $106,000 a year or less is being cut from 6.2 percent in 2010 to 4.2 percent in 2011. The child credit is being raised to $1,000 from $500 for 2011 as well. The controversial estate tax measure exempts any estate less than $5 million for individuals, $10 million for couples, left to heirs, but estates worth more than that will be taxed at 35 percent.
Benefits extended along with deficit
The bill also includes a federal unemployment benefits extension for unemployed workers in states with high rates of unemployment. Benefits usually last for 26 weeks, but they are extended to 99 weeks in states with high unemployment rates. Other tax credits are being kept as well, such as the Opportunity credit for college students. The bill has rubbed some people the wrong way, as the cuts in government revenue will add to the near $14 trillion federal deficit.