18 Dec 2010

Tax bill passed by House

6:02 am on 18 December 2010

The United States House of Representatives has passed a compromise tax bill averting a New Year rise in income taxes for millions of Americans.

The deal forged by the White House and Republicans also extends benefit payments for some of the longer-term unemployed for 13 months.

The bill passed over objections from House Democrats about tax breaks for wealthy Americans.

President Barack Obama said compromise was needed to win Republican support.

The $US858 billion package was passed by 277 votes to 148 in the House of Representatives. The BBC reports Mr Obama is due to sign it into law on Friday.

Under a proposal crafted with Republicans by the White House, tax cuts enacted by President George Bush in 2001 and 2003 and set to expire this year, would be extended at all levels.

When Mr Obama announced the deal last week, he said it was the only way to avoid the damage to American families and the economy that would ensue if taxes were allowed to rise and long-term unemployment benefits were not extended.