The Senate has gaveled out for the August recess without further action on the small business bill that Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) sought to amend to include estate tax relief. The House has planned to meet briefly the week of August 9 to vote on increased Medicaid and education funding for the states, and then members are expected to return to their districts until the week of September 13.

An extension of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts is moving up the post-recess agenda and emerging as the most likely potential vehicle for estate tax reform. Legislators are yet to determine the key parameters of the bill, including its duration (temporary or permanent), extent (for only those earning less than $200,000 per year or all taxpayers), inclusion of additional tax changes (such as estate tax, energy and other expiring tax provisions) and process (whether through the committees of jurisdiction or driven exclusively by leadership). During the recess, Policy and Taxation Group will continue to engage key legislative leaders of both parties in both chambers to increase the prospects that estate tax reform will be included, the leverage of our allies to achieve the most significant and long-term relief and the likelihood that harmful revenue raisers will be excluded.