[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/12/17/tax.deal/c1main.obama.sign.pool.jpg caption="'This is progress' and 'good news,' the president said." width=300 height=169]
CNN Wire Staff
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama signed an $858 billion tax bill into law Friday, saying, "this is progress, and that's what (the American people) sent us here to achieve."
"We are here with good news for the American people this holiday season," he said. "By a wide margin, both houses of Congress passed a package of tax relief that will protect the middle class, that will grow our economy and will create jobs for the American people."
Obama was flanked on stage by both Democrats and Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was instrumental in getting the bipartisan legislation passed. Incoming House Speaker John Boehner, however, did not attend the signing.
"Candidly speaking, there are some elements in this legislation that I don't like. There are some elements that members of my party don't like. There are some elements that Republicans here today don't like. That's the nature of compromise."
With Obama's signature, states can begin to reinstate unemployment benefits, so that people "will get them in time for Christmas," he said.
"Not only will middle class Americans avoid a tax increase, but tens of millions of Americans will start the New Year off right by opening their first paycheck to see that it's actually larger than the one they get right now.
"This is real money that's going to make a real difference in peoples' lives. I would not have signed this bill if it didn't include other extensions of relief that were set to expire."
The House of Representatives gave final approval late Thursday night to the deal, negotiated by the White House and top Senate Republicans. The final vote of 277-148 had almost equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans in support.
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