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Estate Tax Repeal Vote Possible in House in 2014

July 31, 2014
Estate Tax

Republicans are considering voting this year to repeal the U.S. estate tax, said House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp.

Camp, a Michigan Republican, told reporters in the Capitol this week that many recently elected U.S. House members haven’t had a chance to vote on the issue. He said no final decisions have been made.

"It’s been a long time since we’ve had a vote on total repeal," he said. "Obviously, I don’t believe death should be a taxable event."

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The measure would probably pass the House, given that more than half of the House members are co-sponsoring a repeal bill. President Barack Obama and many Democrats favor going in the other direction and expanding the estate tax, so the proposal stands little chance of becoming law.

"Just taking up time with stuff that’s not going to go anywhere," said Representative Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. "It’s sad, because it just sort of signals the end of that vision of tax reform, which Dave took a real shot at."

Under current law, Americans have a $5.34 million per- person exemption from the 40 percent tax. The IRS collected $13.1 billion in estate taxes in fiscal year 2013.

Republicans have been trying to repeal the estate tax for more than a decade. President Bill Clinton vetoed an estate tax repeal bill, and President George W. Bush signed a law that had the tax expire only for 2010.

The estate tax returned and its parameters were made part of permanent law in deals between Republicans and Obama.

Any House vote would come after Congress returns in September from a five-week recess that starts this week.

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