The Senate voted on a Tom Coburn amendment yesterday that would have increased funding for the "care and payments to caregivers of disabled veterans, offset by a reduction in funding for earmarks not requested by the president."
The amendment was defeated 24-69. Most of the Democrats voted NO, but so did these wayward Republicans:
Alexander, L. (TN) Bennett, R. (UT) Bond (MO) Cochran (MS) Collins, S. (ME) Corker (TN) Gregg (NH) Hatch (UT) Inhofe (OK) Lugar (IN) Murkowski, L. (AK) Shelby (AL) Snowe (ME) Voinovich (OH) Wicker (MS)
The House could take up an extension of the 2009 estate tax next week, although a decision has not been made, a leadership aide said. Plans to bring it up the first week of November were shelved because House Democratic leaders wanted to focus on getting the healthcare bill done, but now they have a window while the Senate decides how to handle the health legislation. Moderates are pushing for a permanent extension at the 2009 rate of 45 percent, with an exemption for up to $3.5 million in assets per spouse, as proposed in President Obama’s budget. Liberal House members argue those levels are too generous, however, especially because the $233 billion cost does not have to be paid for under a budget deal struck this year. There is even more dissension in the Senate over the terms and scope of the estate tax, with Democrats such as Agriculture Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln joining Republicans in pushing for a lower rate and higher exemption threshold. A simple one-year extension is seen as a more likely fallback scenario this year. The estate tax is slated to expire Dec. 31.