Appearing on Fox News Sunday this morning, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) said that despite some indications to the contrary, House Democrats do not intend to obstruct the passage of President Obama’s tax package.
Van Hollen maintained that Democrats’ primary objection was over the estate tax, and said that while Democrats intend to “have that debate” — perhaps by holding a vote, or series of votes, on just the estate tax provision — but they would not block the deal. “We’re not going to hold this thing up at the end of the day,” he said.
The estate tax, Van Hollen insisted, had not been a central element of the six-party talks led by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, which is why he believed the White House was “out-negotiated” by Senate Republicans in arriving at the current deal, and why he believes that Democrats might be able to win a better deal.
For all of 2010, the estate tax rate has been at zero, and is set to return to the old rate of 55 percent next year. The current package brokered by the president would set the rate at 35 percent, which Democrats think is too low. “[It's] very reasonable for us to ask the wealthiest estates to pay their fair share,” Van Hollen said.