August 02, 2006

Bill Frist's White Whale

One of the most interesting political stories in the tax world this year has been the tireless efforts of Senator leader Bill Frist to push through estate tax cuts, coupling estate tax provisions with any bill he can get his hands on. The latest such strategy is what he's calling the "trifecta bill"-- estate tax, extension of some small corporate tax breaks dubbed "extenders," and minimum wage. The trifecta bill was passed by the House of Representatives last week and is now before the Senate.

Via the Tax Prof Blog, here are strong words from Frist on what the stakes are for action on the estate tax this week:
If the Senate kills the trifecta bill, we will not return to it this year. That means no permanent death tax reform, no tax policy extenders, and no minimum wage increase. It is now or never — this week — and members should understand that. There will be no second chances. No last minute side deals. No new UCs. No other motions to proceed. Nothing.
Pension reform is obviously an important thing. And a lot of folks would say the same about minimum wage hikes. But Frist is willing to ditch both of these things if he can't get the estate tax cut he want. He gets a little bit more Melvillesque every day...


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