'Death tax' repeal approved
© Greg Nash

The Senate approved a budget amendment Thursday that supports a repeal of the estate tax. 

Senators voted 54-46 on the amendment. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGun proposal picks up GOP support Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Agricultural trade demands investment in MAP and FMD MORE (R-Maine) broke rank and voted against the amendment, while Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: EPA aims to work more closely with industry Overnight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Lawmakers try again on miners’ pension bill MORE (D-W.Va.) voted for it. 

The amendment, offered by Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGun proposal picks up GOP support Overnight Regulation: Senate panel approves driverless car bill | House bill to change joint-employer rule advances | Treasury to withdraw proposed estate tax rule | Feds delaying Obama methane leak rule Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-S.D.), aims to repeal the estate tax, sometimes referred to as the "death tax." Under the tax, an estate, or assets, have to be worth more than $5.43 million before they are taxed.  
 
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Thune, ahead of the vote, said "a death in the family should not be a taxable event. ... It also hits farmers particularly hard." 
 
Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE (I-Vt.) fired back that "this amendment is not about family farms or small business. This amendment exclusively the wealthiest 0.3 percent of the families in this country." 
 
Like many votes taken during the "vote-a-rama," the approval isn't binding, but it sets the stage for a decision later in the appropriations process.