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House OKs full tax cut extension

Aug. 1, 2012 at 8:53 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. House voted Wednesday to extend all current income tax rates and defeated a bill extending rates only on what Democrats called middle-class income.

The Republican bill to extend all current rates for through 2013 -- formally known as the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012 -- passed 256-171. Nineteen Democrats voted with Republicans, while one Republican voted against the bill, The Hill reported.

The Senate voted last week in favor of a bill to retain current tax rates only on income of $200,000 or less for individuals and $250,000 for families. That bill was defeated in Wednesday's 170-257 House vote.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said during debate on the Democratic bill that allowing rates to rise for higher-income taxpayers would punish small business owners and hurt their ability to create jobs, The Hill reported.

Republicans cited a study by the accounting firm Ernst & Young indicating more than 700,000 jobs would be lost if tax rates on higher wage earners are allowed to increase at the end of the year -- when current rates are scheduled to expire.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, said the study was "bought and paid for" by those who will benefit from extending current rates on higher incomes.

In a statement following the vote, the White House said the GOP bill would "shower millionaires and billionaires with a $1 trillion tax cut that will inevitably be paid for by gutting investments in critical programs needed to create jobs and strengthen the economy."

The statement said President Barack Obama "will continue to call on Republicans in the House to stop holding the middle class tax cuts hostage and the House needs to follow the Senate's lead and get this done."

The White House had said Tuesday the Republican bill would "hurt the economy both by increasing the long-term deficit and also by taking money out of the pockets of the families most likely to spend it in the near term." Obama will veto the bill if Congress passes it, the White House said.

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