Estate Tax Deal Falls Apart

Senate negotiators said May 18 that a deal to cut estate taxes is on the verge of collapse after a majority of the Democratic caucus expressed concerns about voting for an expensive tax cut for wealthy families. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) told reporters that no deal was imminent - countering news reports that a deal was imminent. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) had previously announced that the Senate was close to an agreement that would eliminate the chances of a retroactive estate tax increase and eventually cut the estate tax rate while raising the exemption levels. Asked May 18 about whether he prefers a retroactive proposal, or one with a choice for 2010, or an option to prepay, Kyl would only say that he believed there was an agreement one week ago and "that may not be the case anymore."
Kyl also said a legislative vehicle and the timing for consideration are still up in the air and negotiations are continuing.