Republicans pushed through legislation this week to permanently repeal the estate tax. The vote was 256 to 171.

Under the $1.35 trillion, 10-year tax cut legislation passed last year, the estate tax would be gradually phased out. However, unless Congress makes its repeal permanent, it would be reinstated after the law expires in ten years.

Democrats are opposed to a permanent repeal and the bill faces tough opposition in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The bill, which the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates will cost $99.4 billion through 2012, is the third attempt by Republicans to make permanent many measures of the tax cut as the country heads into the November elections.

The House voted earlier in the week to permanently extend changes to the adoption tax credit and to leave untaxed restitution payments to Holocaust survivors. It voted back in April to abolish the 2010 sunset on the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.

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