This vote was on whether to suspend the Senate’s rules that govern when certain types of motions can be made to allow Jim DeMint, R-S.C., to offer a motion to send a bill that would extend unemployment insurance back to the Finance Committee. The bill that was the subject of DeMint’s motion would extend federal unemployment benefits until Nov. 30 applied retroactively to June 2.
As part of his motion, DeMint wanted to stipulate that the bill would be rewritten by the committee to add language that would permanently repeal the estate tax, which is a tax that must be paid on property or money that is transferred as part of a will or estate, upon someone’s death.
“What right does the government have to take someone’s property because they die? They have paid taxes on the property and on the income throughout their entire lives, and many times they paid a very high tax rate if they worked hard and made a good living,” DeMint said. “That is what is going to happen if we allow the majority to continue with their plans to allow the death tax to go up. This will cost lots of jobs, break up many family businesses and family farms, and cost, as I said, 1.5 million jobs. It makes absolutely no sense at all.”
Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said Republicans seem to have no problem when it comes to spending federal money on those who already have money, and said this motion is a prime example.
“The Republican hypocrisy is about to reach a whole new level, literally, today. In the name of fiscal responsibility, while they oppose every effort to help the middle-class and working families of our country, today an amendment is going to come onto the floor which is specifically designed to provide huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. In other words, there is no money available to help desperate families who have lost their jobs, but there is all kinds of money to provide huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires,” Sanders said. “This, even for the Senate, is really weird and really extraordinary. In the midst of telling us how serious the deficit is, how serious the national debt is, these folks want to give tax breaks to billionaires by permanently repealing the estate tax and, as this chart shows, adding more than $1 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. That is a very unusual way to deal with our deficit crisis.”
By a vote of 39-59, the motion to allow the amendment to be offered was rejected. All but three Republicans present voted to allow the amendment. All but two Democrats present voted against allowing the amendment. The end result is that the motion failed, and an amendment that sought to add language permanently repealing the estate tax to an unemployment insurance extension was rejected.