The House voted Wednesday to approve a Republican-sponsored bill to extend the current tax rates for all income levels for an additional year, rejecting the Democratic alternative passed by the Senate last week that would have only extended the tax cuts for household incomes under $250,000 a year.

The Republican bill was approved by a vote of 256 to 171, with 19 Democrats crossing party lines to join Republicans. House Republicans permitted an up-or-down on the Democrats’ bill, but it failed to pass by a 170 to 257 margin, with 19 Democrats again crossing party lines. The Democrats' bill was passed last week in the Senate and would have limited the tax cuts to adjusted gross income of $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals (see Senate Approves Tax Cuts Extension for Middle Class).

“Today, the House voted to stop the tax hike and put American families and job creators first,” said House Ways and Means Committee chairrnan Dave Camp, R-Mich., in a statement. He also promised a vote Thursday on a bill that would streamline procedures for passing comprehensive tax reform legislation next year (see House Republicans Make Plans for Tax Reform in 2013).

“Tomorrow, we will vote to compel Congress to act on comprehensive tax reform next year that would make the Tax Code simpler and fairer and could lead to the creation of 1 million jobs in the first year alone,” said Camp. “This is the right thing to do, and it will give small businesses and families the certainty they need in these tough economic times. The Democrats’ proposed tax hikes, however, will eliminate over 700,000 jobs, according to an independent study by Ernst & Young. Americans simply cannot afford to lose more jobs to the Obama economy.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., criticized the Republicans for extending the tax cuts for upper-income levels. “By refusing to vote for the Senate bill, House Rs giving more tax breaks to the richest 2%—breaks they don’t need and we can’t afford,” she tweeted.

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