House Democrats on Friday pushed through an $80 billion bill to block the spread of a dreaded tax on middle-income people, the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The White House and Republicans, protesting tax increases in the bill affecting mainly investment fund managers, maintained that it would never become law.
The 216-193 vote to "patch" the AMT for a year sends the issue to the Senate, where its prospects are at best uncertain. Not one House Republican voted for it.
What is certain is this: If Congress and the Bush Administration do not reach a compromise by the end of the year, anywhere from 21 million to 25 million middle-income taxpayers will be hit by the AMT, costing them as much as $2,000 in extra taxes.