House OKs Permanent Estate Tax Bill but Prospects Remain Uncertain

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The House votes 225-200 to pass and send the Senate a bill (H.R. 4154) that would make permanent the 2009 estate tax rate and exemption levels, although there is no clear path to enactment. Democrats argue the $233.6 billion legislation would provide stability and certainty, but Republicans argue that death should not be a taxable event and say that while full repeal is preferable, they are open to other options, such as indexing, a lower tax rate, and higher exemption levels. The bill now moves to the Senate where its prospects are unclear.