Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Holy Sacred Cow: Tax Reform Package to Set Churches Free to Campaign?

If the White House and Republicans on Capitol Hill can work out a tax reform plan, it may unleash churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations into partisan politics. The Washington Post reports that negotiations between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue include the revocation of the “Johnson amendment,” which — ostensibly, anyway — prevents tax-exempt organizations from endorsing candidates or parties during election cycles:
As Republicans struggle to craft a sweeping tax package — a process already rife with political land mines — they are preparing to add another volatile element to the mix: a provision that would end a six-decade-old ban on churches and other tax-exempt organizations supporting political candidates.
The repeal of the “Johnson amendment” is being written into tax legislation developed in the House of Representatives, according to aides. President Trump has vowed to “totally destroy” the provision at the behest of evangelical Christians who helped elect him.
The inclusion of the repeal in broader tax legislation could bolster its chances. A stand-alone bill would almost certainly face a filibuster in the Senate, where opponents fear the measure would effectively turn churches into super PACS.
Why can’t the Senate just filibuster the overall bill anyway? Thanks to the reconciliation track opened up for tax reform at the beginning of the session, the tax reform package won’t be subject to the filibuster, as long as it reduces the overall deficit. Since repealing the Johnson Amendment isn’t likely to impact revenue — and might be a small cost-saver in terms of enforcement — its addition won’t threaten the bill’s reconciliation status. If Republicans and Trump want to eke this through the Senate, the tax reform package is the platform to use.
Read the rest from Ed Morrissey HERE.

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