The most recent proposed transportation legislation before congress has a provision that removes the ability of inheriting beneficiaries of traditional IRA's to take out the inherited funds over their lifetimes (because that has a lot to do with transportation infrastructure). The so-called Stretch IRA provisions that have been contained in tax code for close to a decade now, permitted people that were named as beneficiaries of an IRA to withdraws their inheritance over their actuarial lifetimes, thereby keeping the majority of their funds in the IRA growing tax deferred. Under the current proposal, that "gift" contained in the tax code would be removed, and beneficiaries would be required to withdraw the funds within 5 years of the owner's date of death, thereby accelerating the income tax owed on those previously tax deferred funds. We all know that congress is looking for ways to increase revenue without looking like they are raising taxes. Accelerating "income" by taking away the stretch may be an easy way for them to do it. More info here. Allowing the sunset of the current exemption for estate tax can't be far down the list. After all, they won't be passing an increase, but simply allowing the law that was previously passed expire the way it was intended to when it was passed.