Obama Signs $858 Billion Tax Bill
On Friday, President Obama signed an $801 billion package of tax cuts that Congress pushed through the House in a late vote Thursday.
The package extends the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush for another two years, thus ensuring that an across-the-board tax increase does not occur in 2011, which would have (technically) been the case if the tax cuts expired at the end of this year.
In addition, the package extends $57 billion in unemployment benefits for an additional 13 months, and the payroll tax will be cut by two percentage points for one year. You can see some of the major highlights of the bill here.
The deal represents a hard fought bipartisan compromise for President Obama and Congress, which will see an influx of newly elected Republican House members in the new year. The final vote of 277 to 148 was a result of almost equal support from Democrats and Republicans.
The bill features several compromises between Democrats and Republicans. For example, President Obama and Democrats have strongly opposed extending tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans but finally yielded to Republicans this week in both the Senate and House. They also agreed to a lower real estate tax, to which Republicans responded by agreeing to extend unemployment benefits, the payroll tax, and others they have previously opposed.
Photo (cc) by Flickr user JD Hancock.