April 22, 2018

Chuck Grassley attempts to clarify 'booze or women' estate tax comments

06 December 2017, 09:01 | Winston Chapman

Sen. Chuck Grassley supports estate tax repeal benefiting the wealthy over people who spend money on 'booze' and 'women'

Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks with reporters ahead of the party luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) made some remarks about the estate tax over the weekend that has him in some hot water with taxpayers and his own colleagues.

A top Republican senator is defending GOP efforts to reduce the hit to the wealthy from the federal estate tax because it helps those who invest rather than people who spend their money on "booze or women or movies". Chuck Grassley implied that people not now affected by that tax are "spending every darn penny. on booze or women".

On Monday, Grassley said his comments had been misinterpreted.

While Grassley is trying to clean up his comments, the media has been sharing a "terribly misleading soundbyte" from Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The House and Senate still have to reconcile the differences between their tax bills, and Grassley says they should have a bill on the president's desk before December 25.

The estate tax, often derided as the "death tax", is a 40-percent tax on the wealth of a person after he or she dies.

The Register's report also points out that both the Senate's and House's bills ease the death-tax burden. The report said that the death tax likely affects a few dozen farms and a few dozen small businesses across the entire USA, yet generates tens of billions in revenue, annually.

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The newspaper found that the estate tax break will affect only "dozens" among 1.4 million Iowa taxpayers, according to IRS data, because nearly all estates fall under the current exemption cap.

The estate tax affects a very small - and very wealthy - number of Americans.

Senate Republicans negotiated through early Saturday morning to pass their sweeping, trillion-dollar tax reform bill, putting the GOP and President Trump on the threshold of a major legislative victory this year.

Only the estates of about two out of every 1,000 Americans who die qualify for such tax.

Grassley said he wanted to ensure the tax code was as fair for "family farmers who have to break up their operations to pay the [Internal Revenue Service] following the death of a loved one as it is for parents saving for their children's college education or working families investing and saving for their retirement".

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