The Senate voted in favor of repealing the death tax Thursday evening on a non-binding measure.
The upper chamber voted 56-46 on a budget amendment offered by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., to repeal the 40 percent state tax.
The vote was mostly symbolic, as the budget is not signed by the president and does not become law.
It also showed that, while repealing the tax is popular among Republicans who say it discourages investment and hurts family-owned farms and businesses, the Senate does not have the supermajority needed to pass legislation and erase it from the books.
Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate Republican, voted against the amendment. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat considered a centrist, voted for it.
Thune introduced the legislation to repeal the death tax earlier in the day.
At an event with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, farmers, and family business owners, Thune had said that he “will look for any and all means” of moving the legislation.