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GOP senators press Treasury to withdraw estate tax proposal

GOP senators press Treasury to withdraw estate tax proposal
© Greg Nash

Dozens of Republican senators are asking the Treasury Department to withdraw its proposed rules on the estate tax, arguing that the regulations would hurt family businesses.

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"We ask that the proposed regulations not be finalized in their current form as they directly contradict long-standing legal precedent, create new uncertainty for taxpayers, and put family-owned businesses at a disadvantage relative to other types of businesses," the 41 senators said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden argues for legislative patience, urgent action amid crisis On The Money: Senate confirms Yellen as first female Treasury secretary | Biden says he's open to tighter income limits for stimulus checks | Administration will look to expedite getting Tubman on bill Sorry Mr. Jackson, Tubman on the is real MORE on Thursday.

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 (R-S.D.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchBottom line The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Press: Forget bipartisanship — it's dead! MORE (R-Utah) took the lead on the letter.

Other signers include Sens. 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 (R-Fla.), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranBottom line Hawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill MORE (R-Kan.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  Cindy McCain: Arizona election audit is 'ludicrous' The Republicans' deep dive into nativism MORE (R-Ariz.), who announced Thursday that they have introduced legislation to prevent the administration from implementing the regulations.

The proposed rules, released in August, would reduce or eliminate certain discounts on the value of shares of family farms and businesses for purposes of the estate tax.

Administration officials have said that the rules are designed to close a "loophole" wealthy taxpayers use to artificially reduce the value of the assets being transferred. But the senators said in the letter that the rules would "discourage families from continuing to operate and build their businesses."

Any regulations that Treasury issues on the estate tax in the future should "more directly target perceived abuses in the valuation of transferred interests in family businesses," the senators said. 

Rubio said in a news release that Obama administration's proposal "is wrongheaded and will kill jobs."

The bill he introduced with Moran and Flake is identical to legislation introduced last week in the House by Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio).

Business groups have also expressed opposition to the proposed rules and support for the bill.

- updated at 3:21 p.m.