Congress Passes Tax Cut Deal

Proving throngs of skeptics wrong, Congress approved an $801 billion package of tax cuts and $57 billion for extended unemployment benefits on Thursday, a huge victory for President Obama. The deal had been met with opposition from both Democrats, who claimed Obama had bowed too much to the GOP, and Republicans, who didn’t believe the bill went far enough. The House approved the tax cut deal, 277 to 148, late Thursday, after a tense night during which liberal Democrats fought with party leaders over the inclusion of an estate tax provision. Meanwhile, over in the Senate, Dems abandoned efforts to push forward a $1.2 trillion spending bill to finance the federal government through the first nine months of 2011, and said they would instead support a short-term stop-gap measure instead. Republicans had demanded on the short-term solution since they’ll be in the majority in the House in January and have more seats in the Senate, and will be able to create their own spending plan.