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As many of you have probably heard, the house passed by a 279-136 vote a bill which would repeal the estate tax over a ten year period. Many are saying that this is veto-proof, but this thinking is flawed.

279 votes isn't enough to overturn a veto if the full House membership of 435 votes. Today only 415 voted. If the full membership of 435 vote on the override, it would take 290 to override.

News articles are reporting that Democrats have commitments from enough non-voters to vote against the bill to prevent a 2/3 override.

And further, Tax Analysts is reporting is that four of the Republicans who voted for the bill today would vote against it in a veto showdown. Every vote has to be taken separately and the political consequences of voting for a bill you don't believe has any chance of becoming law are much different than the political consequences of voting for a bill that will become law after your vote.

Also, this is a 10-year phase-out of the estate tax. But it also would repeal the basis step-up for assets over $2 million. So, even if it were passed, it's not the "death of the death tax."

My opinion is that this is election year politics. Republicans will campaign on the theme of "we tried to cut taxes." Democrats will campaign on the theme of "we protected you from the greedy Republicans."

So, don't start tearing up your A-B trust documents and wills yet...
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