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 current law stipulates an estate will be taxed 40 percent on assets inherited from an individual who died that exceed $5.5 million, or $11 million for married couples.
House and Senate negotiators are working out the differences between the two bills, with the goal of completing legislation to send to Donald Trump before Christmas. 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.
He now says his opposition to the estate tax is because it is a double tax on someone's earnings, not because the wealthy deserve rewards for their spending habits.
"My point regarding the estate tax, which has been taken out of context, is that the government shouldn't seize the fruits of someone's lifetime of labor after they die", Grassley said in a statement to MONEY.
Farm-state lawmakers and other Republicans have long argued that the estate tax is harsh on small businesses and family farms. Senate Republicans voted 51-49 to pass a $1.4 trillion tax bill early Saturday.