A deal struck by President Barack Obama and Republicans to extend expiring tax cuts for millions of Americans and stimulate the sluggish U.S. economy received the needed majority of votes for passage in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

Voting continued was expected to end within minutes.

The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives. A bid by some Democrats to tighten an estate tax provision to make it less generous for the wealthy is expected to fail, which would clear the way for likely final passage of the tax deal this week.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, Andy Sullivan, Kim Dixon and Thomas Ferraro)