House to hold separate votes on amendment, tax bill

The House has restarted debate on the $858 billion tax agreement and will consider a rule for debate that allows for two votes, one on raising the estate tax and another on passage of the bill. 

An earlier rule created some confusion — a vote for the amendment to increase the estate-tax rate to 45 percent and lower the exemption to $3.5 million also was deemed a vote on final passage. 

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said the new rule, which will be changed on the floor, allows for a vote on the full tax-cut plan if the estate-tax amendment is approved. 

If the House votes down the estate-tax amendment, a vote on the Senate-passed bill would follow. 

The bill could still be passed after just a few hours, but it might be after midnight, according to a Democratic aide.