The following are excerpts from this New York Times article on today’s Senate vote defeating efforts to repeal the estate tax:

WASHINGTON, June 8 — The Senate rejected a major Republican effort on Thursday to eliminate the estate tax on inherited wealth. The vote was a big defeat both for President Bush and for Senate Republican leaders, who had framed their opposition to what they called the “death tax” as a popular and even populist crusade.

Sixty votes were required to end debate on the bill and prevent a filibuster, but the measure got only 57, with 41 Senators voting against and 2 not voting. Only a few lawmakers crossed party lines.

Though a handful of lawmakers continued to search for a compromise that could pass, negotiators appeared unable to reach a deal before the end of this week — if ever.

“We were foreseeing ourselves putting this over the line,” said Dick Patten, executive director of the American Family Business Institute, a group that has led much of the political campaign against the estate tax. Though insisting that he was still trying to line up another two votes, Mr. Patten had already begun to talk about making the issue a central one in the 2008 elections.

You can find more on the estate-tax repeal vote here.