Republicans have dropped efforts to include estate tax reform in the pension bill now being crafted by a House-Senate conference committee.
Conference committee watchers say the decision will clear the way for a compromise pension bill to get through Congress next week.
The House could vote on a compromise bill by Saturday, and Senate leaders hope to schedule a vote before Aug. 4, when the Senate leaves for a month-long summer recess.
“Pension reform legislation is very important to the workers, employers, life insurance, as well as the nation as a whole,” Jack Dolan, a spokesman for the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, says of the reports that the pension bill conference committee has decided to leave out a major estate tax provision. “[The bill] did not need any unrelated measures.”
The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, Falls Church, Va., which has been leading the industry lobbying effort against the bill, called the decision “an incrementally positive step in this debate.”