The Senate approved a measure to extend former President Bush's tax cuts to all but high-income Americans.
Wednesday's 51-40 vote on the $250 billion bill was split along party lines, with Republicans opposing the measure.
"Today, the economy is growing slower than it was in December 2010," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. "This is more about the election than it is the economy. And I'm sure a few arms have been twisted in order to get a result."
Democrats, who want to raise taxes on the wealthy, say it would help cut the deficit. But the GOP said raising taxes in a weak economy is a bad idea.
Congress must reach an agreement on what to do about tax rates for the wealthy by the end of the year or President Bush's tax cuts will expire and taxes would go up for everyone.