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

Senate Republicans are rallying behind legislation from Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneCheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women Trump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan The Memo: Trump's critics face wrath of GOP base 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."

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“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 McConnellAssaults on Roe v Wade increasing Trump spokesman says defeating Cheney a top priority Biden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push MORE (Ky.); Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts Pollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls MORE (Texas), who is running for president; and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats cool on Crist's latest bid for Florida governor Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  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 CollinsCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts House to advance appropriations bills in June, July Manchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator' 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 SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' 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.