Sen. Orrin Hatch is pushing back against speculation a concession was inserted in the GOP tax overhaul plan specifically to win the support of Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker.
The provision in question, what critics are calling the "Corker kickback," would allow people who hold real estate holdings through a limited liability company to take advantage of a new deduction for "pass-through" businesses, which gives them a lower tax rate. The provision would possibly benefit the Trump family as well as Corker.
Politico reports Hatch calls the speculation the language was designed to get Corker's vote "categorically false."
“I am unaware of any attempt by you or your staff to contact anyone on the conference committee regarding this provision or any related policy matter,” Hatch wrote in the letter to Corker.
The Utah Republican added: “To the contrary, virtually all the concerns you had raised in the past about the treatment of pass-through businesses in tax reform were to voice skepticism about the generosity of various proposals under consideration.”
That has done little to mollify the plan's opponents, who have seized on what they call the “Corker Kickback,” in a long-shot bid to derail the bill. On Monday, a coalition of liberal activists called on Corker to release his tax returns and said the Senate should wait to vote on the bill until he does so — an unlikely scenario.
Democrats are painting the provision as a giveaway to wealthy real estate developers and other business interests.
The House will vote on the GOP tax plan Tuesday before sending it to the Senate.