WASHINGTON - The Senate is scheduled to begin debate today on an 11-year, $1.35 trillion tax-cut package that bankers have lauded for its potential to stimulate the economy and generate deposits and fee income for financial companies.

The full Senate is expected to vote Monday on the massive package, which cleared the Senate Finance Committee with few amendments Tuesday night by a vote of 14 to 6. Among the handful adopted was one by Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, that would establish a tax credit of up to $500 for interest paid on student loans by individuals earning less than $45,000 per year.

The panel left intact the bill's core components: individual rate cuts, estate tax repeal, reduction of the so-called marriage penalty, and extension of the child tax credit.

Both chambers will have to vote on a reconciled version of the tax package before it is sent to the White House for the President's signature, which Republicans hope to get by Memorial Day.

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