NU Online News Service, June 12, 10:45 p.m. – The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to reject a measure supported by President Bush that could have led to the permanent repeal of the federal estate tax.

Supporters of the measure needed 60 votes to gain approval of the measure, but the final vote was 54-44, six votes short of the total needed for passage.

A record of the vote, on Gramm Amendment. Number 3833 to H.R. 8, is on the Web at http://www.senate.gov/legislative/legis_act_rollcall_today.html

The House approved the measure last week.

Under existing law, the estate tax will decline gradually until it phases out entirely in 2010, then return at 2001 levels in 2011, unless Congress takes action to approve a full, permanent repeal.