What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : More Equitable Distribution of Tax Burden : (S.Con.Res. 8) On a symbolic amendment in support of repealing or reducing the estate tax, but only if paired with spending cuts or tax increases that would keep the federal budget deficit from rising (2013 senate Roll Call 66)
 Who: All Members : Massachusetts : Warren, Elizabeth
[POW!]
 
(S.Con.Res. 8) On a symbolic amendment in support of repealing or reducing the estate tax, but only if paired with spending cuts or tax increases that would keep the federal budget deficit from rising
senate Roll Call 66     Mar 22, 2013
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This vote was on a symbolic amendment in support of repealing or reducing the estate tax, but only if paired with spending cuts or tax increases that would keep the federal budget deficit from rising.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) offered the amendment during consideration of the federal budget. Sen. Warner’s amendment was meant as an alternative to Sen. John Thune’s (R-SD) proposal to repeal the estate tax. Sen. Thune’s proposal ruled out tax increases to make up for the revenue that would be lost, while Sen. Warner’s amendment left the option on the table. The estate tax is levied on inheritances passed on by very wealthy individuals. Under existing law, the first $5.25 million of an inheritance was exempted from the tax, as were inheritances passed on to a spouse.

Even though Sen. Thune offered a competing amendment, he supported Sen. Warner’s amendment. He argued that it was unfair to the people who were required to pay tax on their inheritance.

Sen. Warner argued that repealing the estate tax would leave an enormous hole in the federal budget. The tax should not be scrapped without filling in that hole, he argued.

“The estate tax right now only applies to about 3,800 people a year. Yet, if we were to repeal the estate tax without any offset, that would add $600 billion to our debt,” Sen. Warner said. “I believe we need a balanced approach. The notion that we can continue to take away revenue sources is not a responsible way to address this budget.”

No senators spoke out against Sen. Warner’s amendment advocating a repeal of the estate tax if accompanied by spending cuts or tax increases that would keep the federal budget deficit from rising. However, many progressives have argued in the past that the estate tax should not be repealed under any circumstances. Estate tax repeal would amount to a massive windfall for an extremely small contingent of very wealthy Americans, they argue.

“If the estate tax were completely repealed, the Walton family would receive a tax break of more than $33 billion,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said via Twitter in November 2012.

The Senate approved Sen. Warner’s amendment by a vote of 80-19. Voting “yea” were 45 Republicans and 35 Democrats. Voting “nay” were 19 Democrats, including a majority of progressives. As a result, the Senate moved forward with a budget proposal that supported repealing or reducing the estate tax, but only if paired with spending cuts or tax increases that would keep the federal budget deficit from rising.

 

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