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Senate Tax Vote Soon

Senate Tax Vote Soon - The final obstacle to President Barack Obama's tax deal—the opposition of House Democrats—appeared to be melting away Tuesday as strong Senate support for the legislation turned up pressure on liberal critics to concede.

"It's a fast-moving train," said Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.), who has led opposition to the legislation to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all income groups. "The momentum is all in its favor, that's for sure."

Rep. Jim McDermott (D., Wash.) called the bill "just awful." He said the bill includes elements he supports, but that it remains a bitter pill to swallow.

"I still have to eat the estate tax and an extension of tax benefits to people above $250,000, and an extension of unemployment benefits for only one year, said Mr. McDermott. "When you put those three elements together, I have a hard time getting excited about what's on the Christmas tree," said McDermott.

Senate Tax Vote Soon

On Monday, the Senate voted 83-15 to advance the tax bill, which would block an across-the-board income tax increase Jan.1 and extend lapsed unemployment benefits, among other provisions. A final Senate vote approving the bill, likely by a similarly wide margin, was expected late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

House Democratic leaders are expected to bring up the bill as early as Wednesday and allow a vote on an amendment to raise the bill's estate-tax rate, which liberals believe is too low. But Democratic critics concede that odds of the bill changing are long.

"The clock's ticking, the end of the year is here, and members are looking at this as the last proposal," said Richard Neal (D, Mass.), a senior member of the House's tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. "My guess is it probably gets a fair number of Democratic votes in the House."

Senate Tax Vote Soon

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