Update: Economic Stimulus tax cut extended

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate committee has voted to extend a big tax cut for middle-income and wealthy taxpayers as part of the massive economic recovery bill working its way through Congress.

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday accepted a bipartisan proposal to shield more than 20 million taxpayers from paying the alternative minimum tax for 2009. The proposal, which would cost about $70 billion, would inflate the Senate's overall economic recovery package to nearly $900 billion.

Extending the tax cut is an annual ritual in Congress, but lawmakers usually wait until the fall to do it, as they did last year. Without the extension, families with incomes as low as $45,000 would be hit with a significant tax increase for 2009.

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