President Obama Dec.17 signed into law the $858 billion tax cut bill passed by the House over objections from both Democrats and Republicans.

“We are here with some good news for the American people this holiday season,” Mr. Obama said.

The bill passed in the House Dec. 16 as a result of a 277-148 vote in the late night hours. The package had previously sailed through the Senate, but received plenty of opposition in the House from President Obama’s fellow Democrats, who disagreed with a provision that would allow estates as large as $10 million to pass to heirs tax-free.

The bill’s passage in Congress extends the Bush-era rate for estate taxes for another two years, while continuing unemployment benefits. Obama, who had favored the bill, is expected to sign it into law on the weekend of Dec. 17.

During a testy House debate, which poured over into the midnight hour on Dec. 17, Democrats at one point suddenly halted their input after realizing they lacked the votes to support the framework around the debate.

As a result, the House ended up in recess before eventually working things out, according to a National Public Radio report.

Liberal lawmakers still had several complaints, and sought higher taxes. Also, many among the contingent of unhappy Democrats were frustrated that the tax cuts—which were initially passed in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush and which were meant to be temporary—have been given new life.

“There is no such thing as a temporary tax cut,” Democrat Peter DeFazio of Oregon told NPR. “I hope the White House is listening. They’re about to spring the trap.”

Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-Md.) also expressed frustration with the bill, and voted against its passage.

Edwards said in a statement that the bill primarily benefits the wealthiest two percent of Americans while adding billions of dollars of debt to future generations.

“It is indefensible that working families struggling to make ends meet, and those depending on unemployment benefits, are being held hostage to ensure tax cuts for the two-percenters and an estate tax break that benefits only 6,600 families,” Edwards said in her statement. “I continue to be concerned deeply about the payroll tax reduction provision that threatens the future of Social Security. This signifies a dangerous first step toward privatizing a critical program for our senior citizens.”??Nonetheless, the $858 billion package is slated to go into effect Jan. 1.

Obama, who had urged quick action in the House on the measure, said he realized members of Congress on both sides of the aisle had objected to various parts of the plan.

However, “That’s the nature of compromise,” Obama said, according to the Associated Press. “But we worked to negotiate an agreement that’s a win for middle-class families and a win for our economy, and we can’t afford to let it fall victim to either delay or defeat.”

DorothyRowley

AFROStaffWriter