Senate votes to open debate on renewing tax breaks

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A bill to renew a package of more than 50 expired tax breaks has cleared its first hurdle in the Senate.

The Senate voted Tuesday to open debate on the bill, which has strong backing from the business community but would add about $85 billion to the budget deficit.

Almost every year, Congress routinely renews the tax breaks. This year, though, they were allowed to expire at the start of the year.

Among the expired tax breaks are provisions that affect millions of people, including a business tax credit for research and development and a deduction for state and local sales taxes for certain individual taxpayers. Other provisions are narrowly targeted to benefit film producers, NASCAR race track owners, makers of electric motorcycles and teachers who spend their own money to buy classroom supplies.

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