The Senate on Wednesday approved the Obama administration's tax-cut compromise with Republicans that would extend Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, including the wealthiest, and extend unemployment benefits for one year.
The $858 billion package passed by a vote of 81 to 19 and still must be approved by the House of Representatives. Stubborn House Democrats have pledged to tighten an estate tax provision.
In order to extend unemployment benefits, the Obama administration struck a deal with Republicans seeking a two-year extension of tax cuts originally pushed by the Bush administration nearly a decade ago.
Democrats like Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) reluctantly voted in favor of the compromise in order to help struggling families.
"Earlier this month, all 42 Republican Senators threatened a work stoppage," Brown said in a statement. "These Senators threatened to go on strike - blocking unemployment insurance, middle class tax relief, and national security measures - unless we agreed to give extra tax cuts to America's wealthiest 315,000 people."
"But we must compromise in order to extend help to those who are struggling in this economy," Brown said.
A recent Roll Call report shows Brown is slipping in the polls and Ohioans give him a 40 percent approval rating.