Prospects may be fading for an estate tax amendment to the package passed by the Senate on Wednesday. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said the House will pass the bill today regardless of whether progressives are able to amend it.
House Democrats have been more vocal in opposition to President Obama’s deal with Republicans than their counterparts in the Senate, where it passed with the support of 81 senators. When pressed by host MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on whether Democrats would pass the bill even without changes to the estate tax, Van Hollen conceded that they would, even after calling the existing provision in the bill an “egregious…windfall” to the wealthy.
“I think it’s fair to say if that fix is not made, and we don’t send it back to the Senate, yes, I think my best guess is that it passes on final passage,” he said on Morning Joe today. But Van Hollen held out hope. “I think there’s a decent shot, Joe, that the provision that will fix the estate tax problem will pass.”
Progressives would like to return the estate tax to 2009 levels, which would set the rate at 45 percent with an exemption of $3.5 million. On Wednesday, the House Rules Committee provided for the amendment, offered by Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D. The bill passed by the Senate pegs the rate at 35 percent, with a $5 million exemption.
Asked about today’s anticipated floor action on the bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did not predict what will happen, but said she “would love to see” a change to the Senate bill’s estate tax language to reflect the House Democrats’ approach.
Billy House contributed.