Congressional Roundup: Thune proposes permanent estate tax repeal

By: - April 2, 2023 7:00 am
U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, speaks after a Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on March 28, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, speaks after a Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on March 28, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the latest installment in a series of periodic updates on the activities of South Dakota’s congressional delegation.

Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, introduced legislation last week to repeal the federal estate tax, which he calls the “death tax.” 

The bill is supported by 40 Republican cosponsors, but no Democrats.

The estate tax is applied to the transfer of property upon a person’s death. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 doubled the individual estate and gift tax exclusion so that it now stands at $12.9 million. But that provision – which exempts estates worth up to that amount from a tax obligation – expires at the end of 2025. 

Thune wants to eliminate the estate tax permanently.

“Family-owned farms and ranches often bear the brunt of this tax, which makes it difficult and costly to pass these businesses down to future generations,” Thune said in a news release

Shipping reform

Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota, introduced a bill last week to “crack down on the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to influence America’s supply chain.”

The Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act would prohibit U.S. ports from using a specific brand of Chinese software, Johnson said. It would also allow the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate foreign shipping exchanges such as the Shanghai Shipping Exchange to look for improper business practices. And it would authorize the commission to streamline data standards for maritime freight logistics.

In a news release, Johnson said the bill would give the commission the authority it needs to protect U.S. ports, shippers and manufacturers from China’s influence.

“Fair trade practices benefit all parts of the supply chain from producer to manufacturer, shipper to consumer,” Johnson said.

The legislation builds on Johnson’s earlier Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which became law last year. He described that effort as the first major update to shipping regulations since 1998. It was a response to reports during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that foreign ocean carriers were leaving American agriculture export products behind at U.S. ports and heading back to Asia empty, which exacerbated supply chain problems.

Johnson has worked with Democratic Rep. John Garamendi of California on both pieces of legislation.

How they voted

In other notable congressional action last week: 




Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Seth Tupper
Seth Tupper

Seth is editor-in-chief of South Dakota Searchlight. He was previously a supervising senior producer for South Dakota Public Broadcasting and a newspaper journalist in Rapid City and Mitchell.