NEW DETAILS: Tax Cut Deal Passes
Washington (CNN) -- The Senate approved a controversial $858 billion tax cut package Wednesday, overwhelmingly voting to extend the Bush-era tax reductions despite a series of objections from both the left and the right.
The measure, which passed 81-19, now advances to the House of Representatives.
The House will take up the bill Thursday, according to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland.
The package includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire December 31. It also would extend unemployment benefits for 13 months, cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points for a year, restore the estate tax at a lower level and continue a series of other tax breaks.
The estate tax -- currently scheduled to exempt inheritances up to $1 million and tax amounts above that at a rate of 55% -- would be reduced under the tax package to a rate of 35% on amounts above a $5 million individual exemption.
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