Grassley: Ending estate tax 'recognizes people that are investing,' not ‘spending every darn penny'

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley extends deadline for Kavanaugh accuser to decide on testifying Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Kavanaugh accuser seeks additional day to decide on testimony MORE (R-Iowa) said he favors repealing the estate tax, which the Senate tax-reform bill does not do, saying it "recognizes the people that are investing," The Des Moines Register reported Saturday.

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies," Grassley told the newspaper.

The estate tax, often derided as the “death tax,” is a 40-percent tax on estates deemed to be worth around $10 million or more. The future of the estate tax is one of the key differences between the House and Senate bills that will need to be reconciled in a joint committee.

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The House version of the bill calls for the estate tax to be completely eliminated by 2024. Before the tax is fully repealed, the estate tax exemption will double.

In the Senate version, the estate tax would not be repealed, but would allow up to $11 million to be passed on tax-free for individuals, double the current exemption. 

Grassley has previously spoken out against the estate tax, saying earlier this year that it makes it “harder than ever for families to pass down the family-run farm or business from one generation to the next.”

He has previously sponsored legislation to abolish the tax entirely.

The estate tax is one of a few significant differences between the tax-reform bills passed by each chamber of Congress. Another is that the Senate bill repeals the ObamaCare individual mandate.

Republican lawmakers have expressed optimism they will be able to hash out the differences in a joint committee and deliver a bill to President Trump by the end of the year.