June 30, 2010

Yesterday the Senate began consideration of its version of the small business lending bill and passed a key procedural hurdle, invoking cloture by a vote of 66-33. As you know, the House previously passed its bill (HR 5297), which included a provision limiting the legitimate use of grantor-retained annuity trusts (GRATs), on June 17 by a vote of 241-182.

The Senate bill does not include the harmful provision. Policy and Taxation Group has continued to make both the substantive and procedural cases against the GRAT provision, and we are pleased that Senate leaders have continued to insist that estate tax-related revenue offsets not be attached to legislation unrelated to estate tax relief.

With Congress preparing to honor the late Senator Robert C. Byrd tomorrow, the Senate is unlikely to finish work on the bill until after the one-week 4th of July recess. Following Senate passage, the bill would then have to be reconciled with the House,and identical versions would have to clear both chambers before any potential GRAT provision could be implemented into law.