Last minute provision in GOP tax bill would benefit Trump, Corker: IBTimes
By John Bowden December 16, 2017
© Greg Nash
A last-minute addition to the GOP tax plan creates a new tax deduction that would potentially benefit both President Trump and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (R), who is seen as a swing vote on the Republican tax reform plan.
International Business Times reports that a provision added during the reconciliation process allows owners of income-producing real estate to take advantage of a 20 percent deduction for “pass-through” entities. The Senate version of the tax bill included rules that allowed the deduction to be claimed only by businesses that pay their employees significant wages.
The new provision effectively creates a new tax deduction for real estate moguls like Trump and Corker, who announced his support for the bill on Friday after it was added. According to the IBTimes more than a dozen other GOP lawmakers could also benefit from the provision.
Both Trump and Corker have made millions off of “pass-through” income, according to IBTimes. Trump made between $41 million and $68 million from 25 “pass-through” LLC’s he owned in 2016, while Corker earned between $1.2 million and $7 million in rental income from his LLCs last year.
“I know every bill we consider is imperfect and the question becomes is our country better off with or without this piece of legislation. I think we are better off with it. I realize this is a bet on our country’s enterprising spirit, and that is a bet I am willing to make,” Corker said in his statement explaining his support for the bill.
Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen (MD) condemned his colleagues after learning about the provision, who he said were putting personal profit over the American people.
“Writing a tax bill that puts the very wealthy and special interests before working families was bad enough – but to slip in a last minute provision that could give even more of a windfall to people like President Trump and some Republicans in Congress is unconscionable,” the senator told IBT.
“It’s not too late for my colleagues to do the right thing. I urge them to put politics – and personal profit – aside, and stop this scam that will leave millions of middle class Americans paying more and cause the debt to skyrocket,” he added.
Corker’s spokesman denied that the senator knew about the provision before agreeing to vote for it, and added that he did not request any specific provisions before switching his vote to yes. Corker was the only Republican senator to vote against the bill when it passed in a 2:00 a.m. session at the end of November.
“Senator Corker is not a member of the tax-writing committee and made no requests for specific provisions throughout this debate,” a spokesman for Corker told IBTimes.