House Republicans on Wednesday approved a bill to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts.
The 256-171 vote -- mostly along party lines -- came after the GOP fended off a Democratic alternative, passed by the Senate last week, to only extend the cuts for households that make less than $250,000 annually.
One Republican, Rep. Tim Johnson of Illinois, voted against the GOP plan, while 20 Democrats voted for it.
The dueling proposals mean Congress breaks for the August recess at a stalemate with nothing likely to be settled until after November's elections.
"The tax code is so complex, with 5,000 changes over the last decade.
It's ten times larger than the bible with none of the good news," said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. "The choice Republicans have made is to pass this bill and work toward comprehensive tax reforms."
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the GOP plan for sending a message that "not only do we want to give 100 percent of the American people a tax cut, but a bigger and better tax cut to 2 percent of the American people," she said on the House floor. "In order to do that, we greatly increase the deficit, which would incur borrowing from other countries."
Cory Bennett contributed.