On December 2, 2010, the House of Representatives voted 234-188 to pass legislation that would extend only some of the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, sending the bill to the Senate.
Twenty Democrats broke with their party and voted against the bill.
The bill extends only tax cuts for the middle-class, letting tax breaks end for families earning more than $250,000 per year and individuals making more than $200,000. Congress originally authorized these so-called Bush-era tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.
So what does all this mean?
The bill now goes to the Senate. In the Senate, Republicans have enough votes to filibuster the proposal, making it highly unlikely it will pass through the Senate and onto President Obama's desk for signature.
Republicans want all the cuts extended permanently and for all taxpayers no matter what their income.
Both sides are currently in negotiations with the White House to find a compromise before the end of the lame-duck session.
Therefore, the action today in the House seems largely symbolic in nature.