The Senate has rejected a Republican measure renewing tax cuts for everyone next year, including the nation's highest earners.
The partisan 54-45 vote Wednesday came during a campaign season battle between the two parties over wideranging tax cuts that will expire in January without congressional action. Senators will vote shortly on a Democratic version that would deny the tax reductions in 2013 to individuals making over $200,000 yearly and couples earning at least $250,000.
Republicans said increasing taxes on the well-to-do would stifle job creation because many of those affected own businesses. Democrats said that argument was overblown and that the rich have to contribute to deficit-reduction efforts.
The White House says if the tax cuts are not renewed, families earning less than $250,000 would see tax increases averaging $1,600.