What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : More Equitable Distribution of Tax Burden : H.R. 8. Taxation/Vote to Make Permanent the Repeal of the Estate Tax (2005 house Roll Call 102)
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H.R. 8. Taxation/Vote to Make Permanent the Repeal of the Estate Tax
house Roll Call 102     Apr 13, 2005
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In this vote, the House passed H.R. 8, a bill introduced by Kenny Hulshof (R-MO) to make permanent the repeal of the estate tax. The estate tax is a federal tax levied on the transfer of estates (money, property, etc.) to heirs upon the estate owner's death. Congress passed legislation gradually reducing the estate tax as part of President Bush's tax-cuts in 2001. The schedule of reductions ended with elimination of the estate tax in 2010, but the elimination was set to "sunset" (end) in 2011. Republicans sought to make the elimination of the estate tax–which they referred to as the "death tax"–permanent, claiming that it is wrong to tax people's deaths and that many people who inherit family farms or small businesses are forced to give them up in order to pay the estate tax. Progressives countered that the estate tax ought to be preserved with an increase in the amount of estate exempted from the tax to $3 million for individuals and $6 million for couples. Progressives argued that by preserving the tax with the increased exemption, the estate tax would clearly only affect the wealthiest Americans, and the "$300 billion over the next 10 years and perhaps another $700 billion over the decade following" was much needed revenue that could be used to shore up Social Security or the Medicare drug benefit, fully fund federal education commitments and/or eliminate contemplated cuts to Medicaid. (Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-CA).) They further noted that a $3 million per person exemption would ensure that the vast majority of small businesses and family farms would not be affected by the estate tax. Nevertheless, 42 Democrats joined Republicans to defeat the Progressive position and pass H.R. 8 by a vote of 272 to 162. Thus, efforts to preserve this source of federal revenue while ensuring that the vast majority of family farms and small businesses were protected was turned aside, and the House sent the bill to repeal permanently the estate tax to the Senate for its consideration.

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