Jeff Merkley is only Democrat to get amendment in GOP tax reform bill

As Senate Republicans geared up to pass sweeping changing to the tax code early Saturday, senators offered a number of amendments aimed at making the bill better.

Oregon’s Jeff Merkley is the only Democrat to get one included in the final bill.

His amendment cut out a provision of the hastily-written bill that appeared to give a special tax exemption only to Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. The private school is funded in part by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Merkley’s office said.

Senators voted 52-48 to strip out the tax break. 

“Senate just passed my amendment to strike the terrible DeVos Tax Earmark – a handout for a wealthy, DeVos-funded private school that refuses to comply with federal non-discrimination laws,” Merkley tweeted after the vote. “Like all these special interest giveaways, it never should have been in this #TaxScamBill.”

“When we shined a spotlight on the terrible DeVos Tax Earmark, a few in the GOP were embarrassed enough to take it out, which is exactly why GOP is rushing a handwritten bill through in the middle of the night. There’s plenty in there just as bad or worse that might now become law,” he said.

Though the full bill eventually passed, it has a few more hurdles to cross before it is law. It must be reconciled with a House bill. Senators are working on a tight deadline, aiming to land a bill on the desk of President Trump before Christmas.