On Monday, Americans for a Fair Estate Tax, a coalition of faith-based groups, labor unions and progressive organizations that support a robust federal estate tax, sent to Senate offices a letter signed by seventy organizations, including CTJ, in support of the Responsible Estate Tax Act. This bill, which was introduced on June 24 by Senators Bernie Sanders, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Tom Harkin, would allow the estate tax to come back into effect with higher rates on the very biggest estates, which makes it a more progressive proposal than the one President Obama has put forward.

The 2001 tax legislation signed into law by President Bush gradually reduced the estate tax over several years until eliminating it entirely in 2010. Like all the Bush tax cuts, this repeal of the estate tax expires at the end of 2010, meaning the estate tax will return at pre-Bush levels if Congress does nothing. President Obama has proposed to make permanent the estate tax rules that were in effect in 2009, which would cut the estate tax in half (meaning it would cost half as much as full repeal). The Responsible Estate Tax Act would lose less revenue than Obama's proposal.

As we reported last week, United for a Fair Economy recently sponsored a teleconference in which several very wealthy Americans, including former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Disney heiress Abigail Disney, urged Congress to restore the estate tax.

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