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House delays consideration of estate tax

November 18, 2009

The estate tax story is now changing daily.   Members of the House Ways and Means Committee reportedly met behind closed doors today and agreed they would support a one-year extension and  address the estate tax again next year as part of an overall tax reform bill.

The proposal must be sold to Democratic leaders, who also have to weigh the concerns from members of the Blue Dog Coalition pushing a permanent fix. While some members, including Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, favored a permanent solution, the committee decided there was neither the time nor support on both sides of the Capitol for that approach. On the recommendation of Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., language will be included referencing next year’s expected tax reform debate, which has to take place because the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are set to expire at the end of 2010. “This has to be brought into the whole long-term discussion,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut said. “We understand we have to come up with the one-year extensions … but I think the strongest case is to say we’re going to have to reform this tax system.”

Congress Daily quoted a Ways and Means Democrat as saying nothing is final, that today’s action only represents the views of the committee.

IFB will continue to push for our delegation to jump on board H.R. 3905, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Ways and Means Committee members Shelley Berkeley (D-NV) and Kevin Brady (R-TX).   Congressmen Manzullo and Schock are cosponsors of the bill which would gradually raise the exemption from $3.5 to $5 million over the next decade and eventually index it to inflation.

A companion proposal has the support of Senator Blanche Lincoln.  Another bipartisan Senate bill would make the estate tax permanent at today’s $3.5 million exemption and rate, but index the exemption to inflation.

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