On December 15, the Senate voted 81–19 in favor of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, Senate Amendment 4753 to H.R. 4853, which would postpone the sunset of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, reduce the estate tax, extend a large number of expired provisions, and extend unemployment benefits. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. For details of what is in the bill, see “Provisions in the Senate’s Tax Cut Extension Bill.”
Prior to passing the bill, the Senate considered three amendments, none of which garnered the necessary 67 votes to be included in the bill. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., proposed to limit the extension of the 2001 tax rates to households with less than $250,000 in income; Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., proposed making all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent; and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., proposed requiring spending cuts to pay for the extensions of unemployment benefits.
A vote in the House of Representatives could come on Thursday. The bill’s prospects in the House are currently unknown. On December 6, before the Senate amendment to H.R. 4853 had been unveiled, the House Democratic caucus passed a resolution opposing bringing the tax cut deal negotiated by the Obama administration and congressional negotiators to the floor of the House for consideration. However, the bill as passed by the Senate contains many more extensions of expired tax preference items than the deal as originally announced, and it is unclear whether in its current form it will attract more support from House Democrats.