Faced with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and 2 pending Supreme Court appointments, the Senate has delayed action on the estate tax issue.[@@]
Senate Majority Leader William Frist, R-Tenn., said on Monday that the Senate would delay action on the estate tax issue, which had been slated as among the first issues lawmakers were to tackle upon their return from the August recess. Frist had maintained that plan as recently as last week, which drew heavy criticism from Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.
“It’s simply irresponsible for Senator Frist and Ken Mehlman to even think about spending our tax dollars on breaks for millionaires at a time when our top priority must be to ensure we have the resources needed to address the long- and short-term costs associated with rescue, recovery, and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina,” Dr. Dean said on Sunday. “Not to mention the vital lesson we learned this week about the deadly cost of diverting funds at the expense of the safety of the American people. These costs also come at a time when our nation faces a massive deficit, and mounting costs in the ongoing war in Iraq.”
Frist told reporters Monday that the estate tax vote would be delayed, and that lawmakers would instead take up legislation dealing with the cleanup and recovery of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.