Senate prepares to vote on tax-cut extension

WASHINGTON The Senate appears on the verge of passing the tax-cut package President Obama negotiated with Republicans, but the timing of the vote and the outlines of the plan remain uncertain.

The Senate was in discussion on the proposal Tuesday. Sticking points are the extension of the cuts to the wealthy, and the nearly $900 billion it would add to the deficit.

The Senate held a key test vote on the proposal and the vote was an overwhelming 83 to 15 in favor of it. But the debate still rages on and the actual vote likely won't take place until Wednesday morning.

The bill's supporters realize it's not a perfect bill but believe it's worth passing anyway. The real test will be in the House of Representatives, where few Democrats support the plan.

"I am opposed to those provisions that give, I think, overly generous tax reductions to the wealthiest among us," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota).

"Do I feel passionate that the people who earn over $1 million don't need a tax cut? You bet I do," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

"Most conservatives are upset about the unfunded extension of unemployment benefits," said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

"This is ridiculous. This is ridiculous," said Boxer.

House Democrats plan to meet and talk strategy within the next day. Many want to change the bill by jacking up the inheritance-tax rate, but it's not clear if they have the votes to make any of the changes they would like to make. So the White House expects enough conservative Democrats will join the Republicans to push it through.

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