The Senate has voted to extend $340 billion worth of President Bush's tax cuts that were due to expire in 2010, but has rejected extensions of some other tax cuts.
The Senate voted 99-1 to pass a Democratic amendment to extend a 10 percent tax rate mainly geared to low-income taxpayers, in addition to marriage penalty relief, the $1,000 per child tax credit, and tax cuts for people in the military on Thursday. However, it voted by 52-47 against a Republican amendment that would have extended $376 billion of tax cuts in higher income brackets. On Friday, the Senate passed the overall $3 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2009, which aims to balance the budget by 2012.
"It is a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that adheres to the pay-as-you-go budget rules that created the surpluses of the late 1990s and created millions of jobs," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (pictured), D-Nev., in a statement.
The Senate budget plan must now be reconciled with the House version of the budget. The House plan passed on a vote of 212-207, but was unanimously opposed by Republicans, who said the plan would provide $683 billion in tax increases. However, the votes on the budget plan are nonbinding in both houses. Later this year, tax-writing committees will draft legislation to implement any tax changes. Binding votes would need to be cast by the next Congress and president.
The Senate also voted down a one-year ban on earmarks by a 71-29 vote. All three major candidates for the presidency - Barack Obama, D-Ill., Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and John McCain, R-Ariz. - interrupted their campaigning on Thursday to cast their votes in favor of the ban.
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