Warren Buffett has arrived here in Room 215 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, ready for his appearance a little later this morning before the Senate Finance Committee.
The hearing isn't scheduled to start for another 35 minutes. Buffett joked that he arrived early because he gets "paid by the hour." He very politely turned down my request to ask him a few questions on camera, saying we'd then have to talk to everyone, but he did say he hopes to makes some news. For the last few minutes he's been chatting with some of his fellow testifiers.
The subject of the hearing is the estate tax. Buffett wants to retain it. Under the tax cuts passed just after President Bush took office, the exemption on the tax is being gradually increased until 2010 when the tax goes away all together. Then, if Congress doesn't take any action, the estate tax will be restored to its pre-2001 levels.
There was a spirited debate on whether the estate tax is fair or not on Squawk Box this morning, with Pat Buchanan, former presidential candidate; Jared Bernstein, Economic Policy Institute and CNBC's Joe Kernen.
Here's the clip:
Watch this post for updates on the "pre-game" activity and then around 9:45AM ET, I'll begin live minute-by-minute blogging. You can also see a live video stream of the hearing on the CNBC.com Live Player, reachable from the top of the home page.
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