This was a surprise. It was generally assumed this amendment, which reveres what Democrats referred to as the “Hillsdale carveout”, would fail. But it passed by a vote of 52 to 48.

The so-called carveout was from Sen. Toomey. The Washington Post explains:

A last-minute inclusion in the legislation, authored by Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), that exempts any college that does not accept federal funding from a 1.4 percent tax on investment income from university endowments.

The Merkeley amendment struck this exception down.

More from WaPo on what was struck down.

“It would be available to any college that made that choice,” Toomey responded, defending Hillsdale for saving taxpayers “many millions altogether” for choosing not to accept federal funds. He said such colleges should not pay higher federal taxes on capital gains from their endowments, putting that onus on massive private university endowments such as Harvard and Yale.

“Any others that chose to [reject federal funding] would be able to participate,” Toomey said.

However, after it became clear that Hillsdale would be the only college benefiting from the Toomey provision, Republicans added wording that gave other colleges a break from paying the new tax.

The new endowment tax, part of the House and Senate tax proposals, initially hit private colleges whose endowments are worth more than $250,000 per full-time student, according to a Bloomberg analysis.

There’s much more here, but no time to explain because things are moving fast.

It’s gone now, anway. And the roll call vote is now underway on the tax bill itself. Here we go.