The measure, which is up for vote this week, is major turnaround for the Republican lawmakers who had made the full repeal issue a political battle cry for years, reports The Washington Post.
The compromise will indefinitely exempt from taxation estates worth up to $5 million, or $10 million for couples. Above that level and up to $25 million, the tax would be set at the same rates as capital gains, which are now 15 percent but set to go up to 20 percent in 2011. Estates worth more than $25 million will be twice the capital gains rate, the Post reported.
A bipartisan taxation committee estimates the tax cut will cost the government $279 billion over 10 years. The U.S. Senate has blocked any effort to fully repeal the estate tax.
The New York Times quoted House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill, as saying: "We need to do what is reality, what you can get done with the Senate. We just want to bring death to the 'death tax.'"