The U.S. Senate has agreed to move forward on a tax cut deal. Late Monday afternoon the Senate overwhelmingly voted to end debate, paving the way for a final Senate vote. The procedural vote requires 60 votes and the final tally to end debate was 83-15 in favor. The bill would extend tax cuts for two years and extend unemployment benefits for 13 months
The estate tax portion of the bill means that couples may exclude the first $10 million in value of their estate. However a 35% rate would come into effect above that $10 million 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. However there has been some speculation that the large margin of the vote in the Senate may put some pressure on House Democrats and enhanced the likelihood of congressional approval for the compromise.