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WASHINGTON - The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to permanently repeal the estate tax, putting pressure on the Democratic-led Senate to deal with the issue.
The bill, which was passed on a bipartisan 256-171 vote, would extend the estate tax repeal that was approved last year as part of Bush's $1.35 trillion, 10-year tax cut plan. Under that law, the estate tax gradually decreases and then ends in 2010. But on Jan. 1, 2011, the tax would return to its 2001 rates, under which the largest estates would face a 55 percent levy.
Senate Democratic leaders oppose the push to permanently repeal the tax, saying the government cannot afford expanded tax cuts at a time when budget deficits have returned and are growing.