The Senate voted against proceeding to legislation that would permanently repeal the estate tax–falling three votes short today of the 60 votes that were needed to abolish the so-called “death tax.” But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) isn’t going down without a fight.

“The death tax is an unfair burden inflicted upon America’s small businesses, farmers, and families during a time of grieving and pain. Wiping this vicious tax from the books is a matter of principle,” Frist said after the Senate vote. “We should protect–not punish–hardworking families by burying the death tax forever. It’s unfortunate that a minority of my Senate colleagues have blocked debate on permanent repeal of this wrongheaded tax.” He vowed “this won’t be the last time this year the Senate votes on this important issue–be it on the floor or in some other form. Getting rid of the death tax is just too important an issue to give up so easily.”