House Dems to introduce estate tax measure

Many Republicans would also like to altogether scrap the estate tax, which they deride as the death tax. 

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But Democrats don’t appear to be as unified on the subject. After the Senate passed their tax bill on Wednesday, Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Senate campaign fundraising reports roll in Dems search for winning playbook MORE (D-Mo.) introduced a separate piece of legislation that mirrored the GOP proposal to extend current estate tax levels for a year. 

Sens. Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterEMILY’s List president: Franken did 'right thing for Minnesota' Reforming veterans health care for all generations of veterans Trump and Republicans deliver gift that keeps on giving for Americans MORE (D-Mont.) joined McCaskill on that legislation, and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) told reporters Thursday that he would also like to see current parameters extended. 

Senate Democrats had originally included the 2009 parameters, which President Obama has also backed, in their tax measure. But Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE (D-Nev.) took that proposal out last week, in his push to secure the support of a majority of the Senate. 

“The estate tax, we did the right thing in this. There is some with Democrats and Republicans, some concern over how we should approach this,” Reid told reporters Thursday. “That's why Sen. McCaskill introduced her own bill. But this is an issue that we'll have to put over to a later time, and I think rightfully so.”

In the meantime, Republicans have ripped the Senate Democratic proposal for not standing in the way of the estate tax increase due at the end of the year. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) also said this week not to count on a stand-alone bill on the estate tax making it very far.

That means a solution on the estate tax – like many other tax and fiscal issues – would likely be hammered out during the lame-duck session.

On Thursday, House Democrats also plan to introduce a measure identical to the tax legislation the Senate passed on Wednesday, by a 51-48 margin. 

The proposal, in addition to cutting off Bush-era rates at $250,000, also raises the top rates on capital gains and dividends, and also extends expansions of tax breaks like the Earned Income Tax Credit. 

Since passing their bill, Senate Democrats have urged the House to follow suit, saying that Congress agrees on extending tax relief for the middle-class and was one vote away from making that happen. 

Democrats have also accused Republicans of holding up middle-class tax cuts in an attempt to save tax relief for the wealthiest.

Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking member at Ways and Means, echoed that thought on Thursday, telling reporters House Democrats would give a full-throated endorsement to the Senate bill. 

“Universally, we support the Senate bill,” Levin said, adding: “You’ll hear it very strongly, very vehemently.” 

House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) said Thursday that Democrats would be allowed to put forward the Senate-passed bill next week. 

But the measure stands little chance in the House, with Republicans saying that no one’s taxes should go up in the current economy, and that Democrats are targeting some 940,000 small businesses for a tax hike.