Estate Tax Repeal Proponents Launch New Round of Misleading Attack Ads

Repeal proponents may have failed to secure enough Senate support to make estate tax repeal permanent (see this OMB Watch article) in their June 12 vote, but that vote seems to have only strengthened their resolve. They have launched attack ads against a number of Senators who voted to for reform over repeal of the estate tax instead of repeal it.

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Bumping Our Heads Against the Debt Ceiling

On June 28, the day Congress is planning to leave for the July 4 recess, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill has warned that the government will run out of money to pay its bills unless Congress increases the limit on how much the Treasury can borrow. This means parts of government, if not all of it, will no longer properly function, and government will default on its bills. This has been publicly described as a showdown between the Bush administration and Congress, but in fact it is really a showdown between Bush and the Republicans in the House.

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A Resounding "No" to Estate Tax Repeal

On June 12, the Senate rejected a proposal by Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) to make repeal of the estate tax, which under current law only expires for only one year, in 2010, permanent. Repeal advocates needed 60 votes to send the House-passed estate tax repeal bill on to the President for his signature, but only received 54 votes -- 44 Senators, including 2 Republicans, voted against repeal. This is even fewer votes than repeal proponents received in February on a non-binding .

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Budget Process, October 1, And Tax Cuts

With the expiration of key Senate budget rules on October 1, tax cuts will get easier to pass.

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Senate Rejects Permanent Repeal of the Estate Tax

Seattle Times article, June 13, 2002

This Seattle Times article reports on the efforts of pro- and anti-repeal advocates, as well as the results of the June 12 Senate vote on permanent repeal of the estate tax.

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Tax-Cut Cynicism

New York Times Editorial, June 13, 2002

This New York Times Editorial piece argues that since all but 2% of the country's estates are subject to the estate tax, "The movement to repeal the estate tax has been a cynical and fraudulent exercise. Supporters say they want to protect people inheriting family farms and small businesses. But those estates have almost all been exempted."

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Transcript of Remarks of Sen. Kent Conrad

On June 12, 2002, Sen. Kent Conrad, William H. Gates, Sr., and Americans for a Fair Estate Tax released the results from a poll conducted in May on views of the estate tax among the American public.

The following is the transcript of the remarks by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND).

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"The Inherited Wealth Lobby"

E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post, June 14, 2002

In this op-ed piece, Dionne urges opponents of permanent estate tax repeal not to "shy away from this issue. They should make their case with confidence. They are prepared to protect the overwhelming majority of Americans from estate taxes. But the inherited-wealth lobby and its political allies won't let them do it."

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"Opening A Trillion-Dollar Hole"

David Broder in the Washington Post, June 16, 2002

In this op-ed piece, Broder echoes Sen. Cristopher Dodd's (D-CT) words that, "It is truly mind-boggling that majorities in both the House and Senate have voted to compound the budget problems of the nation by making permanent the abolition of what they choose to call the 'death tax,' more commonly known as the tax on large estates."

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National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Letter to Senate Members

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) sent this letter to all Senate members on June 12, 2002, urging them to vote "No" on any proposal to make permanent any of the tax cuts enacted as part of last year's $1.35 trillion tax cut package -- and mentions permanent repeal of the estate tax specifically.

The letter urges all Senate members to "reject any legislation to permanently extend such tax cuts until Social Security and Medicare have been placed on strong financial footing and seniors are provided adequate access to a Medicare prescription drug benefit."

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