Blog Briefing Room

Coburn: Ending pro sports tax exemption ‘doesn’t have a shot’

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Wednesday said legislation to strip professional sports leagues of their tax-exempt status has no shot of advancing in the Senate.

The retiring Republican senator, who introduced legislation last year to end the exemption, had no illusions about the prospects of a vote even with increased scrutiny placed on the NFL because of domestic violence issues and controversy over the Washington Redskins team name. 

{mosads}”Nothing is going to happen on the floor because the leader of the Senate won’t allow anything of consequence that will actually fix some problems in the country to come to the floor,” he told Yahoo-ABC News’s “The Fine Print.” “So, you know, it doesn’t have a shot.”

Coburn blamed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), describing him as a “dictator” who has run the upper chamber with “autocratic rule.”

Reid signed on to narrowly tailored legislation last week that would strip only the NFL of its tax-exempt status if it continues to promote the Washington Redskins. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is slated to introduce companion legislation in the House. 

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also introduced a bill that would remove the tax-exempt status of professional sports leagues and use the extra revenue to support domestic violence prevention. 

Coburn’s bill would target the tax-exempt status of any professional sports league that has more than $10 million in yearly revenue. He has said it would save about $109 million over 10 years. 

Coburn has previously described the increase in attention as “posturing” by lawmakers, who are flocking to the issue amid controversy. On Wednesday, he said the power of the NFL in Washington would also dissuade many lawmakers from signing on.  

“The reason people don’t want to address that is the people who own these teams are pretty powerful players, and if you don’t want to irritate them — it’s cowardice, you know, don’t take on something you don’t have to because your political career is more important than fixing things that are wrong with the country,” he said.

Tags NFL Redskins tax exempt professional sports Tom Coburn Washington Redskins

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video