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Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke voted in favor of H.R. 4154, the Permanent Estate Tax Relief Act. This legislation maintains the current estate tax exemption for inheritances of less than $3.5 million per individual ($7 million for married couples). It provides certainty for American families, and small businesses, by permanently extending the current estate tax exemption.

“Small businesses are one of our greatest engines of job creation and economic growth,” said Rep. Clarke. “As a member of the House Small Business Committee, I am excited to see that this bill gives these essential firms the certainty, stability, and peace of mind to plan for the future during a time of enormous economic challenges.”

Without this legislation, the estate tax would be fully repealed for one year, in 2010, before returning to pre-2001 levels in 2011. The maximum tax rate would then jump to 55% and the exemption rate would drop drastically to $2 million, making it impossible for small businesses and farmers to plan for the future.

“This legislation protects American families and reinforces our commitment to fiscal responsibility. It ensures that 99.8% of Americans do not pay a penny of the so-called ‘death tax’ while ensuring that the wealthiest individuals to not circumvent their responsibilities and pay their fair share, ” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.

To underscore our pledge to reduce the deficit, the House attached statutory “pay-as-you-go,” or PAYGO, legislation to this bill. Enacting PAYGO is a critical step to putting an end to the reckless “borrow-and-spend” policies of the previous Administration and reinstating the principle that led us from record deficits to record surpluses during the Clinton Administration.