The Senate has voted to approve a Democratic bill renewing tax cuts next year for all but the highest-earning Americans.
The partisan 51-48 vote was a victory for Democrats and averted what would have been a campaign-season embarrassment for them and the White House. The bill closely follows the tax-cutting vision of President Barack Obama.
The measure would extend tax cuts in 2013 that otherwise would expire in January. It would deny those reductions to individuals making over $200,000 and couples earning at least $250,000.
Democrats said omitting the rich from the reductions was an equitable way for the wealthy to contribute to deficit-reduction efforts. Republicans say the higher levies would hurt job creation because many of the wealthy own companies.
The bill will go nowhere in the GOP-run House.