The Corner

Tax Cut Deal Expected to Pass Senate, House Fate Less Certain

The Senate is set to have a cloture vote on the Obama-GOP tax compromise this afternoon. If it passes, the compromise legislation could be passed as soon as tomorrow.  From NPR:

The Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said a “good cross-section” of senators from his party appear ready to accept the deal that President Obama cut with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. It would renew lapsed long-term unemployment benefits for 13 months in exchange for extending all the expiring Bush-era tax cuts for two years.

Monday’s procedural vote could allow the package to move forward to a final Senate vote as early as Tuesday before going back to the House. While several senators from both parties strongly oppose the deal, a supermajority is expected to limit further debate.

But the bill’s passage in the House may prove more contentious. While majority leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said in a press conference today that he expected the bill would eventually pass the House, he also spoke about the need to change the current language. From The Hill:

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) predicted the House would ultimately pass a tax-cut bill this month, but not before Democratic critics have had a chance to amend certain language — particularly a 35 percent estate tax provision that exempts the first $5 million of estates.

“There certainly seems to me to be some room for a change which may or may not be perceived by some to be significant,” Hoyer told reporters at the National Press Club.

House Democrats prefer a 45 percent tax exempting the first $3.5 million of inherited estates.

But the White House does not appear open to increasing the estate tax. White House senior advisor David Axelrod said on The Week this Sunday that “We have a framework, we have an agreement, and I don’t anticipate that it’s going to change greatly.”

Meanwhile, in an attempt to sell the compromise, President Obama will be doing a series of regional interviews this afternoon, talking to reporters from Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Des Moines, Iowa; and Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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