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President Obama signs into law a $859 billion bill to extend the Bush-era 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for all income levels for two years, extend unemployment insurance for another 13 months, and set the estate tax at 35 percent through 2012. The House votes 277-148 to approve the Senate-passed package of tax cut extensions, despite strong opposition from liberals in the Democratic Party. With most of the tax cut provisions set to expire at the end of 2012, Obama will have to return to a bargaining table that will include an empowered congressional Republican caucus, all while he is running for re-election. The new tax law extends several clean energy tax credits, including an extension of a production credit for ethanol makers at its current level of 45 cents per gallon through the end of 2011.
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