Republican Senate leader Senator Mitch McConnell and 23 co-sponsors have introduced the Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2010 (S.3773). The legislation proposes to permanently extend the Bush era individual income tax rate cuts, including the rate reductions for taxpayers with the highest incomes. Click on the following link for the text of the bill: Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2010. See Senator McConnell’s arguments in favor of his bill on his website: Senator McConnell's Column on the Obama Tax Hikes
With regard to the federal estate tax S.3773 provides for a 35% estate tax rate; a unified estate/gift exemption amount of $5 million (per individual), indexed for inflation; and a stepped-up basis for inherited assets. For the year 2010, estates would be able to elect to retain the zero rate and carry-over basis of current law (and capital gains tax would apply to the carry-over basis when the asset is sold) or choose the stepped-up basis structure. For the estates of individuals dying after 2010, assets would receive a stepped-up basis and be subject to a 35% tax rate (with a unified estate/gift exemption of $5 million, indexed for inflation).
In a curious counter-point to the McConnell legislation, the Census Bureau reports that the nation's poverty rate jumped to 14.3% in 2009, its highest level since 1994, and that the 43.6 million Americans in need is the highest number in 51 years of record-keeping.