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Senate Approves Elimination of Estate Tax

The Senate approved, 59-39, legislation (H.R. 8) on July 14 to eliminate estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes by 2010. The House passed the bill, 279-136, on June 9.

Under an agreement reached by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) on July 12, each side was allowed to offer ten amendments and ten second-degree amendments. If either side opposed an amendment that was approved, they could pull the bill from further consideration. The agreement provided an opportunity for both Democrats and Republicans to offer amendments reflecting their party’s domestic priorities.

After rejecting, 46-53, a narrower Democratic alternative to the bill on July 13, Senators defeated a number of Democratic amendments that would have substituted their alternative version of the bill and added expanded funding for a series of Democratic domestic priorities, including the President’s education initiatives and a Medicare prescription drug benefit. Senators also adopted several Republican amendments, largely along party lines. After two days of consideration, the Senate adopted, 53-45, Sen. Lott’s motion to recommit the bill and report it back without amendments, thereby leaving the bill identical to the House-passed version. Senators then moved immediately to final passage of the bill. The President is expected to veto the legislation.

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