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Senate Votes 81-19 to Pass H.R. 4853 Tax Bill

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H.R. 4853, a bill that would preserve extended unemployment insurance benefits for 13 months and set the top estate tax rate at 35% for 2 years, today passed in the Senate with an 81-19 vote.

The Senate first rejected a number of proposed amendments. They rejected an estate tax elimination amendment proposed by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., by a 37-63 vote. Senators rejected an amendment proposed by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., that would have addresses concerns about a major expansion in Form 1099 reporting requirements that is part of the Affordable Care Act, the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

The groups of senators voting for and against the bill were a bipartisan lot. The list of senators voting against the bill included both DeMint and Sen. Bernie Sanders, a socialist idependent from Vermont who usually votes as a Democrat.

The House floor calendar for the day shows that the House could discuss H.R. 4853 on the floor today, but the House is continuing to vote on “suspension bills,” or bills deemed to be uncontroversial and suitable for quick action, and the next matter it is set to take up under the ordinary House rules has to do with a proposed repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

House Republicans appear to have lined up broad support for H.R. 4853, which was negotiated by President Obama and Republican congressional leaders.

Many House Democrats have been making public efforts to block the bill.

In addition to setting the top estate tax rate at 35%, the bill would set the personal estate tax exemption at $5 million.


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