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Senate passes package extending Bush tax cuts

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By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has passed a sweeping tax package that would save millions of Americans thousands of dollars in higher taxes for the next two years while also reducing their Social Security taxes and extending jobless benefits.

The $858 billion package now goes to the House, where many Democrats are unhappy with a provision that allows estates as large as $10 million to pass to heirs tax-free. Democratic leaders, however, say they expect the bill to ultimately pass and become law.

A wide array of tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush is scheduled to expire on Jan. 1 — just two weeks away — affecting taxpayers at every income level. The bill, which was passed by the Senate on a 81-19 vote would extend the cuts for two years.