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

Senate Republicans are rallying behind legislation from Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThrough a national commitment to youth sports, we can break the obesity cycle Florida politics play into disaster relief debate GOP chairman: FEMA has enough money for Hurricane Michael 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 McConnellGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump officials ratchet up fight over drug pricing | McConnell says Republicans could try again on ObamaCare repeal | Dems go on offense against GOP lawsuit Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel MORE (Ky.); Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzProtesters confront Cruz at airport over Kavanaugh vote O'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate Election Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage MORE (Texas), who is running for president; and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference 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 CollinsSusan Collins and the mob mentality Graham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh St. Lawrence alumni, faculty want honorary degree for Collins revoked 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) SandersBiden: Trump administration 'coddles autocrats and dictators' Warren and Sanders question Amazon CEO over Whole Foods anti-union video Dem lawmaker to Saudis: Take your oil and shove it 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.