18 Feb 2012

US tax cut extended

12:19 pm on 18 February 2012

After three months of debate, the US Congress has voted in favour of extending a payroll tax cut until the end of 2012.

President Barack Obama has promised to sign the bill into law.

The deal would extend a payroll tax cut of about $US1000 per year for middle-class Americans.

Republicans had demanded that the tax cut be offset by budget cuts elsewhere, but later agreed to add the estimated $US143 billion cost to the US budget deficit.

The Senate approved the measure on Friday by a 60-36 vote.

Earlier, the House of Representatives passed the bill by 293-132.

The law also extends jobless benefits to people who have been out of work for more than six months.

The BBC reports the payroll tax debate sparked an impasse in Congress at the end of 2011 until Speaker John Boehner agreed to a two-month extension while a House and Senate panel brokered a longer deal.