WASHINGTON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama’s tax deal with congressional Republicans will pass the House of Representatives whether or not Democrats opposed to the compromise are able to amend it, a senior House Democrat predicted on Thursday.
Representative Chris Van Hollen told MSNBC an amendment to alter the deal’s estate tax provision has “a decent shot” of succeeding in the House. That would force the compromise back to the Senate for reconsideration.
But Van Hollen added: “I think it’s fair to say that if that fix is not made and we don’t send it back to the Senate, yes, I think my best guess is that (the tax deal) passes.”
The House was set to take up the issue a day after the Senate voted 81-19 to approve Obama’s deal with Republicans.
Many Democrats in the House strongly oppose the Obama compromise that would extend Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels as a deal favoring the wealthy.
But analysts believe the deal that has already received overwhelming bipartisan approval in the Senate will pass the House with backing from Republicans and some Democrats.
Particularly irksome to Democrats is a provision raising the exemption threshold for the estate tax from $3.5 million in 2009 to $5 million, and cutting the estate tax rate to 35 percent from 45 percent.
Van Hollen said an amendment from Democrats opposed to those changes would keep the estate tax at 2009 levels. (Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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