The Republican congressional leadership continues to search for ways to push an expensive estate tax reform package through Congress before it leaves for an extended recess in late September or early October.
But insurance industry officials don’t believe that the fourth time for the effort to get the bill through the Senate this year will be the charm.
Dermot Healey, president of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, Falls Church, Va., confirmed that the congressional Republican leadership is holding “continuing discussions” on the potential reconsideration of the so-called “trifecta” legislation that failed to win Senate support in early August, the third time this year a legislative package that included reform or repeal of the estate tax had been considered.
“The 60 votes needed to move forward with consideration of the bill were not garnered in August and without gaining additional support for the bill in its current form we don’t expect it to be considered before the election,” Healey said.
“We continue to monitor this fluid situation, as we are concerned with the passage of estate tax reform that would result in this level of revenue loss. AALU continues to advocate in favor of fair, fiscally responsible, and permanent estate tax reform.”
The latest proposals included a suggestion from Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., that the Republicans include in the package a Democratic proposal to extend the Medicare prescription drug benefit enrollment deadline as a sweetener. Lott made the suggestion public Sept. 12.
But Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Sept. 13 that he had heard of the proposal as a “rumor, and I am not going to consider it a serious rumor until leadership talks to me about it.”
And Rep. William Thomas, R-Calif., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, responded by saying, “There are a number of ideas that have been floated. Some are better than others.”