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House to vote today on tax cuts

The U.S. House of Representatives today plans to vote on the tax plan the Senate passed on Wednesday.

The far-reaching $858 billion plan negotiated by the White House and Republican leaders sailed through the Senate on an 81-19 vote. Lawmakers rushed to prevent a New Year's tax hike from striking virtually every American household, according to media reports.

Prospects for House passage appeared to be brightening as lawmakers acknowledged the need to avoid expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the likely shock to the economy that would result, according to The Washington Post.

Liberal Democrats continued to complain that the bill included giveaways for the rich. Some conservative Republicans blasted the price tag. But House Democratic leaders were planning to stage two votes, one on an alternative package that would allow Democrats to express their dissatisfaction without blocking final passage of the compromise bill.

"I know that not every member of Congress likes every piece of this bill and it includes some provisions that I oppose. But as a whole this package will grow our economy, create jobs and help middle-class families across the country," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

"As this bill moves to the House of Representatives, I hope that members from both parties can come together in a spirit of common purpose to protect American families and our economy as a whole by passing this essential economic package."

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