Van Hollen says estate tax provision may make Dems vote against compromise

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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The tax cut compromise may be unacceptable to Democrats unless the estate tax provision is modified, according to Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Democratic leadership.

“This bill in its current form is unacceptable,” Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told MSNBC.

Asked if he would vote against the bill if the estate tax remained as it was, Van Hollen replied: “It makes it much more difficult for Democrats.”

When pressed as to whether “more difficult” meant “a vote against,” Van Hollen replied, “I think.”

He later noted that he, “individually, [intended] to vote against it if [the estate tax is] in there given all the other issues at play.”

“Do we really want to add $25 billion to the deficit over the next two years for the benefit of 6,600 estates?” Van Hollen asked, calling the tax cut provision a “concession” specifically directed at Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl.

“This particular deal on the estate tax is an unnecessary giveaway, at a time when we’re facing these big deficits,” Van Hollen continued.

Van Hollen defended the Democrats’ unwillingness to compromise on the issue as a principled stand, rather than a reluctance to accept November’s losses.

“You know, the narrative has been … we haven’t adjusted to the post-election reality. We can’t compromise. That’s just not the case,” he said. “We understand tough decisions need to be made. But why don’t we put this question to the test. Are Republicans really willing to hold up tax relief for millions of Americans, middle class Americans and others in order to provide a $25 billion hit to the deficit that benefits 6,600 estates at an average benefit of $1.8 million? We’ve never had that debate.”