This afternoon, the House passed the Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act (HR 4154) by a vote of 225 to 200. The bill is a sharp departure from Republican policies and efforts to completely repeal the estate tax — providing tax cuts to help only the wealthiest 2 in 1,000. This legislation keeps the current estate tax exemption for inheritances of less than $3.5 million per individual and $7 million for married couples. Without the bill, the estate tax would be eliminated entirely in 2010; and in 2011, the maximum estate tax rate would then increase to 55% (from 45% this year), applying to all estates above $1 million per individual. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation 2011, only 7,600 nationwide will pay estate tax under the bill — 37,000 fewer than under current law. Learn more about the bill»
Speaker Pelosi on passage:
The Estate Tax relief bill reflects our unyielding commitment to restoring balance and fundamental fairness in our tax code. This Congress is dedicated to fiscal responsibility and to leaving a legacy of progress and prosperity to our children and grandchildren. This legislation is critical to achieving both of these goals.
This bill is good for small businesses, good for farmers, and good for our nation's families — providing them with some certainty and stability during uncertain times. This proposal provides relief to 99.8 percent of estates nationwide, prevents additional taxes from hitting more Americans, and protects our next generation from paying higher tax rates on what they inherit from their parents.
This measure also restores the 'pay as you go' principle of budget discipline, requiring Congress to find a way to pay for any new spending — outside an economic crisis — and returning us to a process that turned record deficits into surpluses in the 1990s.
The Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act represents a positive step forward for America's taxpayers. It is founded on the ideas of equality and opportunity — on values that form the foundation of our economic growth and our pursuit of the common good. I applaud my colleagues, particularly Congressman Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, for their leadership on this issue, and for continuing to fight for our country's families, farmers, and small business owners.