A group of Republican senators unveiled legislation this week to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, a move that’s almost guaranteed to fail in the Democratic-controlled Congress.
The legislation, introduced by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and John Kennedy, R-La., and endorsed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would eliminate the federal tax levied on estates worth more than $11.7 million after the death of the owner.
“I’ve fought hard to repeal the onerous and unfair death tax since I came to Washington, including by leading the effort in 2017 to protect more farm and ranch families from it,” Thune said in a statement. “Family-owned farms and ranches, like those in South Dakota, can bear the brunt of this tax, which oftentimes makes it difficult and costly to pass these businesses down to future generations.”
Reps. Jason Smith, R-Mo., and Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., introduced the bill in the House. Bishop is the lone Democrat sponsoring the legislation.
Critics slammed the measure as a handout to the rich: In 2020, just 1,900 estates (out of the roughly 2.8 million people who died that year) owed estate taxes, according to a recent estimate published by the Tax Policy Center. The tax raised about $14.9 billion in federal revenue in 2018, the nonpartisan group reported.