WASHINGTON — Republicans rammed an election-year, $46 billion tax cut for most of America's employers through the House on Thursday, ignoring a White House veto threat in a debate both parties used to show voters how they would bolster the economy.
The near party-line 235-173 vote moved the bill to the Senate, where Democrats controlling the chamber are sure to ignore it. But the measure's inevitable demise was secondary to the chance it gave each side to offer its prescriptions for creating jobs, echoing the battle that seems certain to dominate this fall's contest for the White House between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
"This is straight-up something to help small businesses keep more of their money while they're having so much difficulty keeping the lights on, and instead giving them the ability to grow," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., the measure's sponsor.
"This is not about mom and pop," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich. "It's about popping the cork for wealthy taxpayers."
Eighteen Democrats and 10 Republicans defected from their party's positions on the bill.