On Tuesday, the White House officially threatened to veto the House-passed legislation.
But the development nevertheless advances election year fights between the parties over everything from the fate of popular government programs like Medicare to the question of tax fairness and the extent to which financially successful Americans should contribute to deficit reduction and the general welfare.
Last week, Senate Democrats passed legislation that mirrors the Democratic bill House Republicans killed Wednesday, and defeated a Senate GOP plan to extend all of the Bush tax cuts.
The dueling measures will stand as symbol's for each party's economic and domestic policy visions But the vote illustrates again that Republicans currently to extend Bush tax cuts for the vast majority of Americans unless high-income earners get their own tax cuts extended as well. That theme has animated President Obama's campaign and Wednesday's development will fuel his pitch to voters.