It's Alive! The GOP's Plan to End the Estate Tax Keeps
American Prospect (07/31/00) Vol. 75, No. 7 p.29; Pollack, Sheldon D.

GOP lawmakers have adopted a "Never Say Die" attitude in their campaign to repeal the estate tax. Efforts to change or eliminate the wealth transfer tax go as far back as November 1994, when the Republican party assumed control of Congress. Since that time, GOP lawmakers have submitted bill after bill in the hopes of invalidating the wealth transfer tax. The latest attempt came in the form of H.R. 8, otherwise known as the Death Tax Elimination Act of 2000. The measure proposes to phase out the estate tax over 10 years. Legislators believe the price tag for implementing the bill would cost $20 billion over five years, $105 billion over 10 years, and roughly $50 billion beyond that point. The House passed the bill by a relatively large margin of votes: 279 to 136, with 50 of the supporting ballots cast by Democrats. The fact that House Republicans were able to round up as much bipartisan support as it did suggests the GOP may be within striking distance of its six-year goal. The architect of the House win was Way and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer of Texas. H.R. 8 is now headed to the Senate, where the bill is expected to be ushered through with the help of ranking Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and long-time anti-estate tax advocate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Lott is no stranger to the process of trying to get rid of the estate tax. As recently as 1997, he, along with Senate Finance Committee member Charles Grassley of Iowa, lent their support to legislation proposing to raise exemption levels. The lone opposition to passage of H.R. 8 is President Clinton, who has already promised to do what he has done since congressional Republicans first waged this fight: veto the measure.

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