The federal estate tax, also called the death tax, is on its way to a permanent demise thanks to the House of Representatives. The lawmakers voted 272-162 to repeal the tax after 2010. Opponents claim ending the tax would cost the federal government billions of dollars, while proponents say it will help family businesses plan for the future.

The bill now faces a big hurdle in the Senate, especially with the country’s rising budget and trade deficits. The Senate has rebuffed the House efforts to eliminate the estate tax several times in the past.

In a statement released after the House vote, President Bush agreed. “The death tax results in the double taxation of many family assets while hurting the source of most new jobs in this country — America’s small business and farms," he said.

The 2001 tax cut package phased out the estate tax with total repeal in 2010. But after 2010, the estate tax along with income tax rates are scheduled to revert to levels in effect before the tax cut. Bush vowed during his campaign to extend the tax cuts.

MSNBC, Associated Press