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Democrats Tear Into GOP for Proposing $1.7 Trillion Estate Tax Repeal

President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill – the American Recovery Plan Act of 2021 – squeaked through the Democratic-controlled United States Senate and House of Representatives without a single Republican vote before it landed on his desk on Thursday, at which point he signed it into law.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

GOP lawmakers in both chambers have insisted that the legislation – whose provisions will lift millions of Americans out of poverty – is nothing more than a toxic liberal wish list.

On Tuesday, however, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) quietly introduced a measure to repeal the estate tax (or “death tax” as proponents like to call it), touting its popularity among Republican Senators like Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

The price tag is a staggering $1.7 trillion, and it would benefit nobody except for the most obscenely wealthy American families.

“The #DeathTax is an unfair tax that burdens family farms & ranches,” Thune tweeted. “Tragedy & loss shouldn’t be exploited to fill the federal government’s coffers. Today, I led colleagues, including @LeaderMcConnell, @MikeCrapo, & many more, to reintro a #DeathTaxRepeal.”

Warren Gunnels, the staff director for Senate Finance Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT), responded to Thune on Twitter, explaining that “it’s called the estate tax and repealing it would provide a $1.7 trillion tax break to the billionaire class and a tax break to the bottom 99.99% of Americans. Not a single family farm owed an estate tax according to the latest data. Not a single one.”

Despite it being dead on arrival, Thune’s proposal contains an absolutely gigantic giveaway to the wealthiest Americans, who have already made off like bandits during the pandemic.

Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times wrote in a column on Wednesday that “couching the estate tax repeal as a benefit for America’s valiant business and farm owners is a scam. Repealing the estate tax would be a massive handout to rich families, enabling them to concentrate their wealth to an extent the Founding Fathers found inimical to society. When you see Republicans like Crapo, Thune, and McConnell wringing their hands over the burden on small farms and family businesses, call it for what it is: hogwash.”

Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, have absolutely had it with the GOP’s terminal hypocrisy.

“What a wonderful way for Democrats to continue to show the difference between Republican priorities and Democratic priorities,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) told HuffPost. “Republicans are obsessive about delivering massive tax cuts to their super-wealthy friends. Democrats just proved we were willing to go big in order to put money in the pockets of lower- and middle-income Americans.”

Sanders (I-TV) also torched Republicans for attempting to give trillions away to the rich while simultaneously opposing extending financial assistance to the rest of the country.

“While Senate Republicans told us we cannot afford to provide $1,400 direct payments to the working class, they had no problem introducing a bill this week to repeal the estate tax which would provide a $1.7 trillion tax break to the billionaire class,” Sanders tweeted. “Total hypocrisy!”

Common Dreams noted on Thursday that half of the GOP’s 50-member Senate caucus has endorsed Thune’s effort. There is a version that has been introduced in the House as well.



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