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House Votes for Full Repeal of Death Tax

On April 13, by a vote of 272 to 162, the House voted to repeal the federal inheritance and gift tax—also known as the death tax—permanently. The Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act (H.R. 8), sponsored by Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R.-Mo.), will make death tax repeal permanent once the tax is phased out in 2010. Because of Democratic filibuster threats in the Senate when the gradual repeal was first enacted, the repeal of the tax cut was made only temporary. This is how it stands under current law, and Hulshof’s bill was an attempt to phase the tax out completely.

Republicans and some Democrats argued that the inheritance tax creates a bevy of perverse economic incentives and prevents family businesses from being passed from generation to generation.

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R.-Ga.) spoke in favor of the bill, criticizing Democrats for caring more about the government’s bottom line than the financial well-being of American workers hoping to pass something along to their children.

“[T]he Democrats really look at the person whom this bill would affect,” he said, “… as a gift who keeps on giving. One of the things our country needs is individuals who are willing to work hard and save their money. It is the basis of our economy and the American dream. … The current death tax punishes people for saving their own money, for fulfilling the American dream.”

Some Democrats, however, argued that the inheritance tax is a useful social engineering tool that keeps American families from accumulating too much wealth.

Liberal Rep. Jim McDermott (D.-Wash.) quoted President Teddy Roosevelt (R.) as stating: “The man of great wealth owes a particular obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government.”

McDermott continued: “Republicans want to undo all the good for the sake of greed. Please, America, do not be phonied up by this rhetoric that we hear on this bill. They will pitch some gibberish about how they are helping Americans. That is nonsense. … If we repeal this [the inheritance tax], the rich get richer and America’s deficit gets deeper and redder. We create an oligarchic class in this country from whom the money can never be taxed. If they can manipulate it around while they are alive, they can never have to pay a penny.”

But Rep. Mike McCaul (R.-Tex.) noted that such wealthy people do pay taxes when they earn their money. “For too long, the federal government has been taxing working Americans, not once, not twice, but three times, on their hard-earned money,” said McCaul. “When they earn it, the government takes an income tax. When they spend it, the government takes a sales tax. And finally, even when they die, the government takes a tax from the grave.”

Although many Democrats supported final passage of the bill, some of them also voted in favor of a Democratic compromise that would have preserved the death tax, but increased the amount of an inheritance that is exempt.

A “yes” vote was a vote to permanently repeal the death tax. A “no” vote was a vote to keep the current law, under which the death tax returns in 2011.

For the Bill: 272

REPUBLICANS FOR: 230 DEMOCRATS FOR: 42 INDEPENDENTS FOR: 0
Aderholt
Akin
Alexander
Bachus
Baker
Barrett (SC)
Bartlett (MD)
Barton (TX)
Bass
Beauprez
Biggert
Bilirakis
Bishop (UT)
Blackburn
Blunt
Boehlert
Boehner
Bonilla
Bonner
Bono
Boozman
Boustany
Bradley (NH)
Brady (TX)
Brown (SC)
Brown-Waite, Ginny
Burgess
Burton (IN)
Buyer
Calvert
Camp
Cannon
Cantor
Capito
Carter
Castle
Chabot
Chocola
Coble
Cole (OK)
Conaway
Cox
Crenshaw
Cubin
Culberson
Cunningham
Davis, Jo Ann
Davis, Tom
Davis (KY)
Deal (GA)
DeLay
Dent
Diaz-Balart, L.
Diaz-Balart, M.
Doolittle
Drake
Dreier
Duncan
Ehlers
Emerson
English (PA)
Everett
Feeney
Ferguson
Fitzpatrick (PA)
Flake
Foley
Forbes
Fortenberry
Fossella
Foxx
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gallegly
Garrett (NJ)
Gerlach
Gibbons
Gilchrest
Gingrey
Gohmert
Goode
Goodlatte
Granger
Graves
Green (WI)
Gutknecht
Hall
Harris
Hart
Hastert
Hastings (WA)
Hayes
Hayworth
Hefley
Hensarling
Herger
Hobson
Hoekstra
Hostettler
Hulshof
Hunter
Hyde
Inglis (SC)
Issa
Istook
Jenkins
Jindal
Johnson, Sam
Johnson (CT)
Johnson (IL)
Jones (NC)
Keller
Kelly
Kennedy (MN)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kingston
Kirk
Kline
Knollenberg
Kolbe
Kuhl (NY)
LaHood
Latham
LaTourette
Lewis (CA)
Lewis (KY)
Linder
LoBiondo
Lucas
Lungren
Mack
Manzullo
Marchant
McCaul (TX)
McCotter
McCrery
McHenry
McHugh
McKeon
McMorris
Mica
Miller, Gary
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Moran (KS)
Murphy
Musgrave
Myrick
Neugebauer
Ney
Northup
Norwood
Nunes
Nussle
Osborne
Otter
Oxley
Paul
Pearce
Pence
Peterson (PA)
Petri
Pickering
Pitts
Platts
Poe
Pombo
Porter
Portman
Price (GA)
Pryce (OH)
Putnam
Radanovich
Ramstad
Regula
Rehberg
Reichert
Renzi
Reynolds
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Rohrabacher
Ros-Lehtinen
Royce
Ryan (WI)
Ryun (KS)
Saxton
Schwarz (MI)
Sensenbrenner
Sessions
Shadegg
Shaw
Shays
Sherwood
Shimkus
Shuster
Simmons
Simpson
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Sodrel
Souder
Stearns
Sullivan
Sweeney
Tancredo
Taylor (NC)
Terry
Thomas
Thornberry
Tiahrt
Tiberi
Turner
Upton
Walden (OR)
Walsh
Wamp
Weldon (FL)
Weldon (PA)
Weller
Westmoreland
Whitfield
Wicker
Wilson (NM)
Wilson (SC)
Wolf
Young (AK)
Young (FL)
Barrow
Bean
Berkley
Berry
Bishop (GA)
Boren
Boswell
Boucher
Butterfield
Cardoza
Chandler
Clay
Costa
Costello
Cramer
Cuellar
Davis (TN)
Edwards
Farr
Filner
Gordon
Hinojosa
Hooley
Israel
Jackson-Lee (TX)
Jefferson
Larsen (WA)
Matheson
McCarthy
McIntyre
Melancon
Peterson (MN)
Rahall
Ross
Ruppersberger
Ryan (OH)
Salazar
Sanchez, Loretta
Scott (GA)
Skelton
Towns
Wynn
 

Against the Bill: 162 

REPUBLICANS AGAINST: 1 DEMOCRATS AGAINST: 160 INDEPENDENTS AGAINST: 1
Leach
Abercrombie
Ackerman
Allen
Andrews
Baca
Baird
Baldwin
Becerra
Berman
Bishop (NY)
Blumenauer
Boyd
Brady (PA)
Brown, Corrine
Brown (OH)
Capps
Capuano
Cardin
Carnahan
Carson
Case
Cleaver
Clyburn
Conyers
Cooper
Crowley
Cummings
Davis (AL)
Davis (CA)
Davis (FL)
Davis (IL)
DeFazio
DeGette
Delahunt
DeLauro
Dicks
Dingell
Doggett
Doyle
Emanuel
Engel
Eshoo
Etheridge
Evans
Fattah
Ford
Frank (MA)
Gonzalez
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Grijalva
Gutierrez
Harman
Hastings (FL)
Herseth
Higgins
Hinchey
Holden
Holt
Honda
Hoyer
Inslee
Jackson (IL)
Johnson, E. B.
Jones (OH)
Kanjorski
Kaptur
Kennedy (RI)
Kildee
Kilpatrick (MI)
Kind
Kucinich
Langevin
Lantos
Larson (CT)
Lee
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Lipinski
Lofgren
Lowey
Lynch
Maloney
Markey
Marshall
Matsui
McCollum (MN)
McDermott
McGovern
McKinney
McNulty
Meehan
Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY)
Menendez
Michaud
Millender-McDonald
Miller, George
Miller (NC)
Mollohan
Moore (KS)
Moore (WI)
Moran (VA)
Murtha
Nadler
Napolitano
Neal (MA)
Oberstar
Obey
Olver
Ortiz
Owens
Pallone
Pascrell
Pastor
Payne
Pelosi
Pomeroy
Price (NC)
Rangel
Reyes
Rothman
Roybal-Allard
Rush
Sabo
Sánchez, Linda
Schakowsky
Schiff
Schwartz (PA)
Scott (VA)
Serrano
Sherman
Slaughter
Smith (WA)
Snyder
Solis
Spratt
Stark
Strickland
Stupak
Tanner
Tauscher
Taylor (MS)
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Tierney
Udall (CO)
Udall (NM)
Van Hollen
Velázquez
Visclosky
Wasserman Schultz
Waters
Watson
Watt
Waxman
Weiner
Wexler
Woolsey
Wu
Sanders

 

Not Voting: 1

REPUBLICANS: 1 DEMOCRATS: 0 INDEPENDENTS: 0
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