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House Passes Tax Reform That Would Repeal Johnson Amendment

Today in Washington DC, the House of Representatives Passed a tax reform bill by a vote of 227-205.  The bill is a key part of President Trump’s campaign platform and now moves to the Senate.   The bill contains $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, including cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent..

In addition to reforming the current tax system, the bill revokes the controversial Johnson Amendment.

The Johnson Amendment is a law from 1954 that prohibits churches from engaging in “political activity” including endorsing candidates for office.  Churches and religious organizations have long seen the Johnson Amendment as an attempt by government to restrict the free speech rights of churches simply because they are churches.

The Johnson Amendment has been referenced by groups like American’s United for Separation of Church and State to threaten churches with legal action for discussing campaigns or issues.

The language in the tax reform bill mirrors the language in the Free Speech Fairness Act, which had been introduced by Rep. Steve Scalise.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where their own tax reform bill is being debated.

The Senate bill faced early opposition from the pro-life community because it eliminated the adoption tax credit.  That tax-credit has since been restored.

The Senate bill also eliminates the individual mandate from Obamacare requiring people to purchase health insurance.

Before final passage, the House and the Senate will have to agree on a single bill that they would send to the President.

The President has indicated his desire to see a final tax reform proposal passed before Christmas.

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