The estate-tax vote has been delayed until after the week long 4th of July recess.
Republicans were reportedly unable to attract enough votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster.
“The vast majority of my Democratic colleagues have so far refused to address this issue. It’s my hope that their constituents will use the upcoming recess to explain the importance of supporting a reasonable and permanent solution to this unfair tax,” said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN).
Frist had called for the compromise measure as a way to pass a reduction of the estate tax this year. A full repeal of the tax had failed to move forward in the Senate earlier in the year. Frist needs 60 votes to bring the measure to formal debate.
The measure is expected to reduce tax revenues by approximately $283 billion over the next 10 years. Democrats argue that the measure only benefits the wealthy, at the cost of the federal budget.
“This is not an issue we should be dealing with. We’re all willing, at the right time, to take a look at estate tax, but this is not the time to do it when we have red ink that is burying this country,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, (D -NV).
Conservative Republicans are also up at arms over the measure, saying that it doesn’t do enough to reduce the tax, it should be eliminated.
President Bush’s 2001 tax cuts currently reduce the estate tax each year, increasing the exemption amount and reducing the rates. In 2010, the tax rate will be zero. In 2011, the top tax rate will bounce back to 55%, with estates under $1 million exempt from the taxation.
The House bill is a compromise that raises the exemption to $5 million per person and reduces the top rate to double the capital-gains tax rate.
“The House of Representatives made tremendous progress last week toward achieving a permanent solution to the death tax. Now it’s up to the Senate to decide whether it can improve upon the House bill, or whether this is the bill that should be sent to the president for his signature,” said Frist.