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Senate rejects permanent estate tax death

Most Senators want to resurrect the estate tax.

They made it official yesterday by soundly rejecting, 59 to 39, a proposal to permanently abolish the estate tax.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) tried to kill the estate tax once and for all  by attaching his proposal to the unemployment benefits extension that the Senate finally passed on Wednesday.

DeMint argued that his proposal was "not a tax cut" but simply a continuation of current policy since Congress let the tax lapse this year. He got two Democrats to support him: Blanche L. Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

However, three Republicans -- Maine's two Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and George Voinovich of Ohio -- opposed permanently burying the estate tax.

They agreed with Senate Finance Committee member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who said abolishing the estate tax would add "upwards of $1 trillion" to the national debt while benefiting only "a few hundred of our wealthiest Americans."

As I've said many times this Congressional session, stay tuned. And yes, I am seriously considering having that phrase discreetly tattooed somewhere.

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