The U.S. House passed the so-called "tax extenders bill" on Thursday, sending the $622 billion measure to the Senate for consideration.
The legislation, approved by a 318-109 vote, seeks to make permanent a number of federal tax breaks. Among them are the Research & Experimentation Tax Credit and various other business tax breaks as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit for college expenses.
There were 241 Republican and 77 Democratic House members who voted in favor of the tax extender package, which would also put the Affordable Care Act's medical device tax on hold for two years.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) was among the lawmakers who voted against the legislation.
"The tax giveaways that so-called fiscal conservative Republicans insisted on inserting into this package would add $622 billion to our national debt over the next ten years," the congressman said. "While this bill contains positive elements such as making the R&D tax credit permanent, the fact that it is totally unpaid for means that we are borrowing from foreign counties to pay off special interests today, while forcing future tax increases or benefit cuts onto our children. We need responsible, comprehensive tax reform that will build on the economic progress we have made in the last seven years, but unfortunately, this isn't it."
Congress is working to pass the tax extender package this week as well as a $1.1 trillion spending bill.
The budget bill includes adequate funding levels for the activation of Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL,17) announced Thursday.
"The funding levels in today's legislation show Congress' continued commitment to supporting the Bureau of Prisons operations at Thomson Correctional Center," Durbin said. "The activation of Thomson prison will not only help relieve overcrowding in America's prison system, but it will also bring much-needed jobs and new economic opportunities to the surrounding communities. I will continue to work with Congresswoman Bustos to make certain that future funding is available. Every day the Obama Administration is making progress toward its goal of opening and operating the prison in a responsible and humane manner that protects the safety and rights of both staff and inmates."
Bustos added that the spending measure also includes increased rail safety funding that she and U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI,3) requested.
"I fought to increase funding for emergency response equipment because we have an obligation to protect families in communities along rail lines," Bustos said. "Last March in Galena, we saw how important it is for first responders to have immediate access to the tools they need to prevent an accident from becoming a full scale disaster. While I would have preferred to have seen additional funding for emergency response equipment, this is an encouraging step in the right direction and I will continue to fight for more resources for our communities."