House Republicans tacked a cut in estate taxes onto a bill to raise the minimum wage. Yeah, you read that correctly: The economically distressed would get an additional $2.10 an hour, whereas the Walton kids and the Hilton sisters would get untold millions.
Must be that compassionate conservatism we’ve heard so much about.
Republicans muscled the first minimum wage increase in a decade through the House early Saturday after pairing it with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates.
Combining the two issues provoked protests from Democrats and was sure to cause problems in the Senate, where the minimum wage initiative was likely to die at the hands of Democrats opposed to the costly estate tax cuts. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week.
Still, GOP leaders saw combining the wage and tax issues as their best chance for getting permanent cuts to the estate tax, a top GOP priority fueled by intense lobbying by farmers, small business owners and super-wealthy families such as the Waltons, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune.
“This is the best shot we’ve got; we’re going to take it,” said House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). The unusual packaging also soothed conservatives angry about raising the minimum wage over opposition by GOP business allies.