Hoyer says tax cuts bill will pass House, but House Dems may still push to change estate tax
December 14th, 2010
02:15 PM ET
3 years ago

Hoyer says tax cuts bill will pass House, but House Dems may still push to change estate tax

Washington (CNN) – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer conceded Tuesday that the House will ultimately pass a bill extending Bush-era tax cuts, but said House Democrats still might try to change the estate tax provisions in the president's plan.

"I think, frankly, that ultimately we will pass legislation," Hoyer said at his weekly session with reporters on Capitol Hill.

House Democratic leaders were meeting Tuesday afternoon before meeting with the full Democratic caucus Tuesday night to decide what to do next-even though any effort to change the deal could end up being mostly symbolic.

Hoyer emphasized that House Democrats still oppose the estate tax provision in the bill, because they believe it is too generous. He noted that the House already passed its own version that exempts those inheritances up to $3.5 million and imposes a 45% tax rate. The President's plan exempts those estates up to $5 million, with a 35% tax rate for those above.

House Democrats are considering voting on an amendment that would change the estate tax to the House-passed version. If that amendment passes, the bill would need to go back to the Senate for another vote. Since any change to the package would likely be rejected by the Senate, this sets up a possible "ping pong" scenario that would mean the Senate would have to send back the original tax bill -without any changes to the estate tax provision– for the House for a second vote. Nevertheless House Democratic leaders may allow a vote on the amendment, even though they know it would ultimately fail, to give those unhappy with the President's plan a chance to say they tried to change it.

Hoyer said he still hopes that the House will wrap up the lame duck session by the end of this week, but left open the possibility that it could stay longer if necessary.

Referring to the bipartisan Senate vote, 83-15, to move ahead with the bill, Hoyer said it "indicates an urgency that is felt by a broad spectrum that the middle income taxes not be increased come January 1. In order to affect that, you've got to pass a bill."

Asked about the temperature among House Democrats on the President's tax plan, Hoyer described it as "pretty cold." He said many Democrats have "mixed feelings" about the proposal because they want to see unemployment benefits extended and ensure that no middle class tax Americans see their taxes increased, but they still oppose extending tax breaks for the wealthy and the estate tax provision.

The number two House Democrat said he didn't think it was necessary for President Obama to come up to discuss the tax bill with House Democrats.

Asked about former President Clinton's impromptu press conference last week in the White House briefing room urging support for the tax compromise, Hoyer called it "classic Clinton" and marveled at the former President's "extraordinary command of the facts." But Hoyer didn't know if Clinton's appeal would have any impact on the vote in the House.


Filed under: Steny Hoyer • Taxes
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Bob in PA

    Damm greedy Democrats. !
    Taxes have already been paid on the property and wealth created. You have no right to money in anyones Estate be it $1 or $1,000,000. Get these idiots out of our Government.

    December 14, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Irresponsible spending......the watch word of Democrats!

    December 14, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Sunshine

    House Democrats are totally wrong when it comes to the Estate Tax. First, we pay taxes all our lives and therefore there should not be an Estate Tax. Rather than Democrats coming up with new taxes, why don't they just cut spending. Stop sending money to other countries. Tell them we have problems of our own and until we are back on track, we can't send you any money. Help Americans, not other countries, not illegals, stop sending jobs to India, China et al and get jobs back to Americans, Disolving our manufacturing was the first step in destroying this country and for companies who continue to send hobs overseas,, you should be taxed royally until you get back to hiring Americans,, Until then, I don't need any of their probucts. I can do without no matter how tough it might get.

    December 14, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Get Over Yourselves

    Would you all please get over yourselves? There was a time, early in 2010, where you could have worked to get a Democrat version of the bill passed, but the House Dems dropped the ball and put it off – because of the mid-term elections? Now that a reasonable – not perfect by a long shot – compromise has been established, vote it in and start working on the plan you REALLY want so that it can be voted on before the 2012 elections. Quit posturing and hurting the majority of Americans!

    December 14, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. concerned liberal

    Liberal Dems need to realize that Obama will sell out – he got a lot of donations from big finance and big corporations.

    They need to keep pushing on him to to return to his liberal promises.

    December 14, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. Chumlee

    Where the sun does not shine Romney!

    Oh, by the way, there is room for you in the same hole as Bush, Cheney, Rice, et al, so jump in and stay there

    December 14, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Sam

    Of course he does. Only he left wingnuts think they are entitled to 45% of all that you have earned over that thresholld. They say its mostly wealth through homeownership but here in the south a lot of people with estates in excess of $10M do not own houses worth even a million dollars. This is why through estate planning people are literally giving the max gift amount to every chilkd, grandchild, and relative they can think of rather than throwing out the window to the Treasury.

    December 14, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Mad man

    Doesn't matter what you and the Demowit's do Steny, January and a New Congress is coming to undo the damage.

    December 14, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Estate tax: a tax designed to make sure that everything people work hard all their lives to earn is ultimately stolen by government.

    December 14, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. Matt

    I'm not a person that will ever inherit any substantial amount of money so the estate tax doesn't affect me, but why is it
    ok for the government to get 45% of someone’s wealth when they die that they have already been taxed on? You should
    be able to leave your loved ones the wealth you have worked your entire life to get, not hand it over to the government to waste.

    December 14, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Chas in Iowa

    The DEM's need to put out the same bill they tried to pass last week extending the tax cuts for all that make under 1 million dollars.
    That's a compromise. If they fail to pass it so be it. Let them pass the bill the GOP and Obama came up with after the first of the year after the new legislature is in place. Then the GOP can change their retoric as the Bush Tax breaks will be expired and any change in the Tax rates will be indeed the tax break from the current rate schedule.
    I'm sick of the GOP talking as if this is already a permanent tax break and we are all talking about a tax increase. So let it expire so were all sure were debating the same tax break for the wealthiest Americans.

    December 14, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. james Miller

    And the House of Rep`s millionaires are going to fight to redo estate taxes later, after 63 new Repub. move in !?!?! ---- Yeah- Right !!!!! -- I know the difference between s@*t and shinola, - and this ain`t shinola.

    December 14, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    >Hoyer emphasized that House Democrats still oppose the estate tax provision
    >in the bill, because they believe it is too generous.

    Yes, because as all good DemocRATS believe and know, this is REALLY the GOVERNMENT'S money that these filthy greedy people stole through their hard work and saving. The government is ENTITLED TO TAKE IT BACK even though taxes have already been paid on it. And if you don't like it well then just don't die.

    December 14, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. phoenix86

    Democrats will not be happy until they have bankrupted every citizen in the US.

    December 14, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |