House Clears Plan to Avert Tax Hikes, Postpone Sequestration for Two Months

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The House late Jan. 1 voted 257-167 to clear for President Obama's signature legislation that would allow tax rates to rise on the nation's highest earners while also extending dozens of tax cuts for individuals and businesses. The American Taxpayer Relief Act (H.R. 8) would permanently maintain the reduced 2001 and 2003 tax rates for individuals earning up to $400,000 ($450,000 for married couples), while allowing income above that to be taxed at rates rising to 39.6 percent. For final passage, 85 Republicans joined 172 Democrats to support the legislation, while 151 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted against it. The Senate voted 89-8 early Jan. 1 to pass the legislation.