The Senate on Monday voted to invoke cloture on a bill that extends tax cuts to all Americans and includes estate tax provisions supported by Farm Bureau. This sets the stage for final Senate passage, which is expected this evening.
The strong bipartisan vote to proceed with debate is seen as a sign that the Senate will pass the bill. However, its fate is uncertain in the House, where the estate tax provisions have been heavily criticized by Democrats. Last week, the House Democratic Caucus voted not to bring the bill to the floor because of the estate tax language.
The 83-15 vote to invoke cloture will put pressure on House Democrats to set aside their opposition, but they are intent on changing the estate tax exemption of $5 million per person and a maximum rate of 35 percent. Many House Democrats back the provisions that were in place in 2009—a $3.5 million exemption and a maximum rate of 45 percent.
In addition to the estate tax, the bill continues for two years many other provisions supported by Farm Bureau, including extension of capital gains tax relief, tax incentives for biodiesel, alternative minimum tax relief and lower income tax rates for all taxpayers. There are a number of other provisions that will help farm and ranch businesses and the American Farm Bureau Federation is urging state Farm Bureaus to now focus on the House to secure passage.