WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday passed a bill sought by President Bush to deliver tax cuts worth $70 billion to investors and to keep 15 million taxpayers from being hit by the alternative minimum tax The House vote was 244-185. The Senate was expected to clear the bill for Bush’s signature Thursday. The bill provides a two-year extension of the reduced 15 percent tax rate for capital gains and dividends, currently set to expire at the end of 2008. It also would extend, for this year, recent changes to the alternative minimum tax _ originally aimed at making sure the wealthy pay at least some taxes _ to prevent it from hitting more upper middle-income families. The debate divided starkly along partisan lines, with Republicans crediting the tax cuts, first enacted in 2003, with a surging economy, millions of new jobs and surging tax revenues. Democrats countered that the deficit-financed tax cuts are tilted in favor of wealthy investors and that the economic benefits are not as great as advertised. ‘Our tax relief sparked this economic growth,’ said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. ‘And by extending key provisions of that tax relief, today’s legislation […]

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