The U.S. Senate has agreed to move forward on a tax cut deal. Late Monday afternoon the Senate waited on more Senators to cast their vote, even though the vote had tallied more than the 60 votes necessary to end debate. The late afternoon vote tally was 79 to 10 in favor. The final count was 83 to 15. The bill would extend tax cuts for two years and extend unemployment benefits for 13 months cleared a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate. The vote ends debate and makes it possible for a final Senate vote, perhaps during the next few hours or days.
The estate tax portion of the bill means that couples may exclude the first 10-million dollars in value of their estate. However a 35 percent rate would come into effect above that 10-million dollar figure. The bill would also extend tax breaks for ethanol for one -year and for biodiesel for two years - retroactive to January 1, 2010.
While chances look good for passage of this tax extension bill in the Senate, passage in the House is expected to be a different story. Some changes could be made in the House, then the round-robin of merging the two bills could likely extend everything into the new year and a new Congress, which may not be quite so friendly.