Republican Sen. John Thune has offered a measure that would protect Olympians from being taxed on their medals and awards as they make their way home from Sochi, Russia. The bill has bipartisan support.
"What my bill would do would be to exempt these medal winners from income tax liability when they come home from the Olympic Games and, you know, we have a tendency in this country, particularly in the tax code, to punish success, and nowhere is that more evident than the way we treat our Olympic athletes who work for years and years in preparation for these games and then come home to a big fat tax bill," the South Dakota senator told Fox News.
Olympic winners get cash prizes along with their medals. Gold medals come with $25,000, silver medals come with $15,000, and bronze medals come with $10,000.
The measure has bipartisan support and has been co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, John Hoeven of North Dakota, and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, as well as by Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both from New York.
authored a similar bill in 2012.
The White House has also come out in support of the measure.
"The president believes we should support efforts to ensure that we're doing everything we can to honor and support our Olympic athletes who have volunteered to represent our nation at the Olympic Games," said White House spokesman Bobby Whithorne. "We still support this effort."
Thune says that he's working to get enough support for the bill "so Harry Reid has no option but to move it on the Senate floor."
He added that if the president really does support it, "that'd be great if he'd pick up the phone."
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