Sunday, July 30, 2006
The Wall Street Journal’s David Rogers, in House Republicans Move to Tie Wage Increase to Estate-Tax Cut (July 29, 2006), reports the latest twist in the Estate Tax saga.
Here are some excerpts:
In an election-year roll of the dice, Republicans proposed to package new spending and a $2.10-an-hour minimum-wage increase with a bill to permanently cut estate taxes. * * *
Within the House, melding the minimum-wage and estate-tax issues also helps the leadership placate warring camps of moderate and conservative Republicans. After a party meeting Friday evening, individual Republicans expressed reservations, but more appeared to be attracted by the idea of simultaneously advancing tax cuts and trying to take the minimum-wage issue off the table for Democrats. * * *
The most serious political risk is the adverse impact on legislation to shore up defined-benefit retirement plans and map out rules for the newer world of 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts. House-Senate negotiators were nearing agreement on a pension bill just days ago, but that framework included the same set of tax extenders that the leadership has now wrapped into the estate-tax initiative.
Stripping out the tax breaks infuriated senior senators in the pension talks, and after a stormy set of meetings running past midnight Thursday, Speaker Hastert abandoned any hope of agreement coming out of this conference.