Senate passes GOP tax bill after nixing Toomey endowment tax change

Senate passes GOP tax bill after nixing Toomey endowment tax change

The addition would exempt any college or university that declines federal funding under Title IV from a new excise tax on university endowments.

Democrats blasted the provision, saying it would aid only only school, Hillsdale College in MI, a politically connected institution with close ties to well-known conservatives, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

"I do understand that my colleagues on the far left do not have fond opinion of Hillsdale - but I do", Toomey said. "But I do. I actually think it's a wonderful institution", Toomey said.

Hillsdale College is a small school in MI known for its religious and conservative ideology. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., proposed an amendment to strip it from the tax bill, and it prevailed by a 52-48 vote, according to the Associated Press.

Given that assumption, Democrats say only one college, Hillsdale College in MI, has an endowment large enough to qualify for the excise tax and also refuses Title IV funding. Sen.

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"A college that chooses to not put that imposition on federal taxpayers ought to be able to be exempt from this tax", Toomey told the Democrats.

The university boasts high-profile conservative alumni, including DeVos and her brother, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater as well as former congressman Chris Chocola, a Republican of Indiana. Democrats have accused the school of refusing government aid to avoid complying with federal regulations preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Democrats attacked the provision as a special interest carve out because it appeared to only benefit a single, conservative college.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats on Friday successfully blocked a provision in the Republicans' sweeping tax bill created to give a special tax break to a conservative college in MI.

Jeb Bush praised Senate Republicans on Saturday for passing the sweeping tax-reform bill, while Hillary Clinton called on Democrats to "get to work" to defeat the GOP legislators who backed the $1.5 trillion package in next year's elections. Hillsdale's endowment is around $360,000. The student newspaper recently calculated that the tax would cost the school $700,000. In the fast-moving process Friday night as senators re-wrote sections of the bill, another late tweak changed the financial threshold for which schools would be subject to that endowment tax.