Abolish the 'death tax,' say Senate Republicans
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans are rallying behind legislation from Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGun proposal picks up GOP support Overnight Regulation: Senate panel approves driverless car bill | House bill to change joint-employer rule advances | Treasury to withdraw proposed estate tax rule | Feds delaying Obama methane leak rule Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE that would repeal the federal estate tax.

The South Dakota Republican said the tax, which opponents refer to as the "death tax," is punishing Americans "for a lifetime of hard work."

ADVERTISEMENT
“Death should not be a taxable event. For too long the federal government has forced grieving families to pay a tax on their loved one’s life savings that has been built from income already taxed when originally earned," Thune said in a statement. "This tax punishes farmers and entrepreneurs for a lifetime of hard work."

Twenty-seven Senate Republicans have endorsed Thune's bill, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (Ky.); Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (Texas), who is running for president; and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE (Fla.), who is expected to launch a White House bid soon.

McConnell called the tax "unfair" and "anti-family." 

"It is the federal government’s final insult to tax your family when you have already paid taxes on your property throughout your life," the Kentucky Republican said. "The thought of having to visit the IRS and the undertaker on the same day is an absolute outrage."

Senators voted last week to include an amendment that backed the repeal of the estate tax in the budget. Every Republican, aside from Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGun proposal picks up GOP support Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Agricultural trade demands investment in MAP and FMD MORE (Maine), supported the amendment, which was also from Thune. 

While the vote wasn't binding, it did get senators on the record. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE (I-Vt.) said ahead of last week's vote that repealing the estate tax "is not about family farms or small business. This amendment benefits exclusively the wealthiest 0.3 percent of the families in this country." 

Under current law, a deceased person’s estate or assets have to be worth more than $5.43 million before they are subject to the tax.