Yes, the brain trust known as the U.S. Senate has managed to prolong the agony on the estate tax. There was a deal on the table as of yesterday but you can forget it! Hard to believe this could happen. Was it a fundamental disagreement on the proposal? Was it because everyone was broken up that Arlen Specter?
No, it’s mostly because some people (the R’s) don’t like that other people (the D’s) are being fraidy cats about not having enough votes:
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said the accord, which was all but forged a week ago, began to dissolve Monday night and broke down Tuesday after talks between leaders in both parties.
After talks with Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), they scrapped a plan to move forward with the tax that expired at the end of 2009.
The reasoning, Kyl said, is that Senate Democrats aren’t allowing any legislation to reach the floor that doesn’t have support from the majority of its members.
“We no longer have an agreement because the Democratic side has decided that unless a matter has a guaranteed majority of Democratic votes going in, they’re not going to allow it on the floor, at least not voluntarily,” he said. “So we have to find a way to get a reasonable permanent estate tax reform to the floor where members can vote on it.”
For crissakes. This is this biggest case of “I’m taking my ball and GOING HOME” we’ve seen this week.
Joe Kristan does put the whole thing in perspective however, “Congress has been botching the estate tax for almost ten years now; why should they start getting anything right now?”