Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Frist goes "all in"

The legislation before the Senate that includes estate tax reform, a number of popular tax benefit extensions and an increase in the minimum wage has been nicknamed the "trifecta bill" for its three parts. Majority Leader Frist has apparently decided that this is the last best chance for changing the estate tax rules. According to Tax Notes Today ($), yesterday on the Senate floor Frist said:
If the Senate kills the trifecta bill, we will not return to it this year. That means we would have no permanent death tax reform, no tax policy extenders, and no minimum wage increase. It's now or never. It's this week.
Democrats are hoping that if they block the trifecta bill, the extenders will be peeled away and attached to the pension legislation that will follow it to the Senate floor. Frist is already at work to block that possibility, and even those who would take this tack acknowledge that such a move would throw the pension bill back into Conference, where it has languished all year.

Minority Leader Reid remains adamantly opposed to the trifecta bill, and some Democrats have indicated that the increase in the minimum wage it delivers isn't important to their states, where the minimum wage is already well above federal levels. By all accounts, it will be a very close vote.

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