The Marketplace Fairness Act, which has cross-party supporter and the backing of powerful retailers, would give states the power to require retailers with sales over $1m to collect state and local sales taxes for online purchases.
The bill has the support of president Barack Obama the majority of senators including Republican John McCain but Marco Rubio, seen a potential Republican presidential hopeful, and Rand Paul both voted against the bill.
The bill passed the Senate by 70 votes to 24 but faces a second test in the House of Representatives where internet retailers and conservatives are already lobbying against the tax. House leaders have yet to schedule hearings or votes on their version of the measure.
The legislation would overturn a 1992 supreme court ruling that said a state could not force a retailer to collect sales tax unless the retailer had a physical presence in the state.
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