A reluctant House of Representatives late Thursday voted 277-148 to approve sweeping tax legislation aimed at boosting the nation's struggling economy.
The vote, just before the stroke of midnight, follows overwhelming Senate approval Wednesday and sends the historic $858 billion measure to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The bill will prevent taxes from rising as scheduled on virtually all Americans on Jan. 1, extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and put more money into workers' pockets. One key component, a one-year, 2 percentage point cut in the Social Security wage tax, would give households an average $934 tax break next year.
The measure also would renew 38 expiring tax breaks for various interests including energy companies, teachers and areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
And it would increase federal budget deficits and the national debt by $858 billion while giving a boost to the sluggish U.S. economy.