The House of Representatives passed on December 3 an estate tax bill, H.R. 4154, introduced on November 19 by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-North Dakota), a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and 11 cosponsors.
The bill, the Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act of 2009, passed by a vote of 225-200, following the defeat of a last-ditch amendment proposed by Republicans calling for the “complete repeal of the death tax.”
The bill would extend the 2009 estate tax level to 2010 and make permanent the estate tax at a $3.5 million level for an individual and $7 million level exemption for couples and impose a 45% maximum tax rate as proposed by the Obama Administration. The bill now moves to the Senate. More than one Republican lawmaker has said the bill would be dead on arrival in the Senate; Democrats said they expected it would pass Senate muster.