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(Tax cut bill passage report updated with analyst commentary.)
WASHINGTON (TheStreet) -- The Senate voted on a controversial tax cut bill Wednesday, extending tax cuts for most Americans in an effort to boost U.S. job growth.

In an increasingly rare show of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans voted Wednesday to approve extending the expiring tax cuts. The tax cut was passed by a vote of 81 to 19.

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The next vote will be in the House of Representatives, where Democrats maintain a majority, as early as this afternoon.

The bill extends Bush-era individual tax rates that were set to expire on Dec. 31, prevents a sharp tax increase on capital gains and dividends, and renews long-term jobless benefits for another 13 months.

Passage of the Senate tax bill is really the key to passage," said Doug Roberts, Chief Investment Strategist for Channel Capital Research. "The House is almost irrelevant. If the Democrats do not pass it this year, a new Republican majority will pass it when the new Congress convenes next year. It is more a question of timing. The outcome is fairly certain. The Senate, which remains under Democratic control in the new Congress, was the real uncertainty."

Roberts said further discussion about estate taxes may occur but that it would have a minimal effect on the overall economy.

Roberts sees the Senate's passing of the bill as a positive for equity markets as it removes a level of uncertainty, at least until the next presidential election in 2012.


SPDR S&P 500

(SPY) - Get Free Report

, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the broad-based S&P 500 index, was 0.5% lower with 30 minutes left in the day's session. The

SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average

(DIA) - Get Free Report

traded higher throughout much of Wednesday's intraday activity but pared those gains to trade near the unchanged mark ahead of the closing bell. The

PowerShares QQQ Trust


was 0.4% lower.

Roberts added that "the payroll tax holiday is really the main new stimulus," while "continuation of the Bush tax cuts and unemployment benefits are really just a continuation of the status quo."

"Any concern about the increase in the deficit should be at least temporarily neutralized by quantitative easing," Roberts concluded.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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