Houses Passes Tax Relief

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House Republicans have won approval of $550 billion tax cut bill that they say contains the cure to what ails the economy.

The vote was 222 to 203, as Democrats argued unsuccessfully that the measure would add to soaring deficits without helping the economy.

The measure doesn't contain the centerpiece of the president's economic growth package. Instead of eliminating the tax on dividends, as he wanted, House Republicans decided to slash the tax by more than half to a maximum of 15 percent.

The package also cuts the capital gains tax, raises the exemption for childcare, and reduces the marriage penalty.

The White House quickly praised the measure as a "strong and positive step forward that will help the economy,'' but it also says it'll keep working to get what it wants in the final tax cut bill approved by Congress.

The Republican-led Senate plans to vote on a similar but smaller measure next week.