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Trump Tax Bill Exempts Just One College From Endowment Tax. It’s Owned By Betsy DeVos

Democratic Senators just voted to strike an amendment from the Republican tax bill that would have given a tax exemption exclusively to a small conservative college in southern Michigan owned by education secretary Betsy DeVos.

Republicans have slipped into the tax bill a provision sponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would exempt Hillsdale College, as it is the only education institution that meets the criteria detailed in bill’s add-on. The exemption was related to a proposed 1.4% excise tax for endowment investments, The Guardian reports.

Senate Democrats hammered Toomey on Friday night over the proposed amendment, arguing it would specifically benefit the conservative college in Michigan.

“It feels like this is a very limited provision written for a very special person,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said on the Senate floor.

Toomey defended the provision, saying it would broadly apply to schools that don’t take federal funds.

“My view is, if a college chooses to forgo federal money and the students that attend have to find their own way to get in, it is diminishing the burden that that college would otherwise impose on the taxpayers,” he said. “And so it’s perfectly reasonable in my view to exempt such a college from the tax on endowments that we’re applying generally.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon proposed the amendment to strip the bill of the language entirely, which passed 52-48, with four Republicans joining their Democratic counterparts. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska all voted to rid the bill of the proposal following the Democrats’ outrage.

The Senate has been scrambling to vote on the bill before the weekend, still writing parts of the legislation Friday, just hours before the vote. The bill passed in the Senate with 51 votes in the early hours of Saturday morning, along party lines.

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