Skip to comments.Democrats to draw line at estate tax after Obama’s deal with Republicans
Posted on 12/08/2010 7:52:40 AM PST by Qbert
House Democratic leaders unhappy with the tax-cut deal President Obama struck with Republicans are signaling they will try to draw the line at a GOP-favored proposal for the estate tax.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday escalated the Democratic criticism of the agreement and said the estate-tax provision was a bridge too far.
The comments by Pelosi and other party leaders reflected widespread anger among House Democrats at the president for caving too early, by their characterization, and essentially leaving them out of final negotiations with Republicans.
While Pelosi retains the Speakers gavel for nearly another month, the tax-cut endgame offered a sobering glimpse at life in the House minority, and House Democrats entered a Tuesday night caucus meeting unsure of their leverage in the tax debate.
With Republican support and a few dozen conservative Democrats already on the record supporting a temporary extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts, the deal conceivably could pass without a majority of the House Democratic Caucus. Democrats are most strongly opposed to the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy, but their focus on the estate tax could provide a more realistic opportunity to tweak the proposal.
Pelosi, speaking to reporters for the first time since Obama announced the tentative agreement on Monday, acknowledged there was unease within the Democratic ranks about the deal.
We are listening to what our caucus has to say, but so far, the response has not been very good, the Speaker said after a leadership meeting in her office.
The Obama-GOP agreement sets the inheritance tax at 35 percent for individuals bequeathing more than $5 million to their heirs. The Democratic-controlled House passed a bill in 2009 that would set the estate tax at 45 percent and start the exemption at $3.5 million. There is no estate tax in 2010.
We believe the estate tax in the bill is a bridge too far, the Speaker said. That provision shifts the balance in the agreement to Republicans and ends any kind of symmetry between the two sides.
Two other House Democratic leaders Reps. George Miller (Calif.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.) denounced the inheritance provision.
The estate tax is just gratuitous, said Miller, a close Pelosi ally.
Van Hollen, the assistant to the Speaker and the House Democratic negotiator on taxes, noted the estate-tax provision would cost $68 billion over the next two years.
I have very, very serious reservations with this deal, he said. Im certainly not in a position to recommend this to my colleagues, Ill tell you that.
Van Hollen warned that the tax package is not final until the lower chamber endorses it.
The House never signed off on this, so its certainly not a done deal, Van Hollen told The Hill.
The chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), also excoriated the agreement with Republicans.
I dont agree with this. I think the presidents wrong, Slaughter said. Im sorry that we couldnt have held on there for a little while until we all got to talk about it, but obviously he couldnt.
As she did in a written statement earlier Tuesday, Pelosi strongly defended the Democratic proposals in Obamas compromise and denounced the GOP-favored provisions, principally a temporary extension of tax cuts for high earners.
On the Democratic side, you have stimulus, you have job creation, you have growth for the economy, Pelosi said. On the Republican side, you have no creation of jobs and an increase in the deficit. So we have some unease with the proposal.
Democratic leaders acknowledged they were not involved in the negotiations Obama conducted with Republicans over the weekend. Asked if the House was adequately included in the talks, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) replied: I dont think House Democrats think so.
Hoyer said earlier Tuesday that the House wants the Senate to act first on the tax-cut proposal. In what amounted to a symbolic vote, the House last week approved an extension of tax cuts only for middle-income Americans, but Senate Democrats were unable to overcome a Republican filibuster. Hoyer defended the House vote, saying the move wasnt specious at all.
That bill reflected the priorities of the Democratic Caucus, he said. That was our priority. We sent that bill to the Senate.
How about all estates paying the same rate as Ted Kennedy’s estate pays? I remember the YouTube video of someone cornering him and asking about all his family trusts. Classic.
The estate tax provision was never on anyone’s radar screen. It was thrown in SOLELY to provide something to negotiate away and get votes.
This is all silliness. Just refuse any and all DEBT CEILING INCREASES and the problems explode short term and are solved long term.
However, if the House Dems balk at it..it give the House GOP the excuse to walk away fromt he deal..which they will do..
Proving yet again that “bipartsanship” to Democrats is a 70/30 deal in their favor.
Maybe it’s time to say “screw it” and pull R support and let Obama carry his own water with his own party. I don know...keeping the Bush tax rates is the right thing for American families, but not at ANY cost.
We should be getting MORE not less out of this deal.
what makes Government think it is so entitled?
I really believe the republicans just threw OZERO a life line....There was to be NO compromise, and they failed to heed the voice of the people. If the pubs would have kept their promise, OFOOL and the RATS would have sunk quicker than the titanic in the ocean of public approval! The snake grew another head and this one is going to be extremely dangerous with the help of the mediaWHORES of course! I for one am very disappointed! Forget men for they shall fail you, BUT God will always be there...”KEEP YOUR EYES SOLELY FOCUSED ON THE LORD AT ALL TIMES”!
No deal if any changes.
Wait to January when we have power.
Plank #3 of the Communist Manifesto.
Elimination of all rights of inheritance.
Classic. This is simply a ‘jobs’ bill for estate attorneys/planners and life insurance salesman.
Buffett/Gates crowd will not pay ANY inheritance taxes I bet.
“No deal if any changes.
Wait to January when we have power.”
Plus, that way, it would be the GOP that tried to be “bi-partisan” (for those who are concerned with that word- whatever it really means...), and work with the president on the original compromise proposal, but the hyper-partisan Dems in Congress ruined it.
I still think it was “magical” that when the mother, Rose, died, she was a full-time Florida resident, even though she didn't leave the state of Massholechusetts for at least the last 10 years of her life.
I know snowbirds who make damn sure they aren't in this state more than 182 days a year just so they don't “qualify” as MA residents: that means a slew of taxes, RomneyCare requirements, etc. kick in.
But then, laws and taxes are for the little people.
Yeah, because not confiscating assets from dead people would cost the government money.
Democrats: Not happy until they get the quarters off the dead man’s eyes.
Well, whatever they’re going to do..or not do, they have on or about the 15th to get it done before the market biggies and even little people start selling off assets ahead of tax season.
I’m inclined to say the Hell with it and go home for the holidays if Dems don’t take this deal as is. This is a take it or leave it. If Pelosi and her crowd want to pull a scorced Earth trick, let them. And let them hang in the next session.
And absolutely NO negotiating on DREAM, START or any othe package until the next Congress is in session.
I have never won anything but peanut money from a lottery. However it has always bugged me as to by what rights does the government have to take someones winnings which the government had no part in except by the wildest of social stretching? The point being that government should never extract from persons that for which the person did not get government services.