Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) implied in an interview that people of the working class, who do not invest in real estate, are wasting it on "alcohol and women."
Needless to say, his statement caused uproar on social media.
“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,” the Des Moines Register reported Saturday.
His comment came in a Nov.29 interview in response to a question asking his opinion on the Senate tax reform bill, which would double the exemption for estates to $11 million for individuals and $22 million for couples.
Twitter users were enraged at Grassley’s comment, evident in the outpouring of criticism against the senator, with one user even stating that the GOP was turning America into a version of the “Hunger Games.”
Grassley further mentioned that the Estate Tax, often known as “Death Tax” for business owners and farmers, was unfairly designed.
“The federal estate tax may force family members to liquidate to pay the death tax,” Grassley said in a statement released earlier this year.
"It’s harder than ever for families to pass down the family-run farm or business from one generation to the next. The death tax creates financial hardship for family businesses to survive and thrive.”
Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and was the former chairman of and current member of the Senate Finance Committee, was asked to convey his views about the tax plan, in context of how it would affect the people of his state.
As it happens, only 682 tax filers in the entire country who owed estate taxes owned any farm assets, according to IRS data from 2016.
When the Register requested Grassley to provide evidence that the tax plan would benefit his state, his office provided a report from the American Farm Bureau Federation. However, according to the data in the report, only 30 percent of farms in Iowa were found to be potentially subjected to the Estate Tax in 2016.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) was the only one from the Republican Party to vote against the Senate tax plan, after he failed to convince his colleagues to scale back the tax cuts.
"I support a number of the provisions included in this legislation and continue to believe it would have been fairly easy to alter the bill in a way that would have been more fiscally sound," Corker said in a statement, the Register reported.
"Unfortunately, it is clear that the caucus is in a different place. ... At the end of the day, I am not able to cast aside my fiscal concerns and vote for legislation that I believe, based on the information I currently have, could deepen the debt burden on future generations," he said.
The House tax reform plan that passed in November includes all the exemptions introduced by the Senate tax plan and also looks to abolish the Death Tax altogether in 2024. The Senate and House tax plans have to reconcile their differences before a final version can be presented to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.