Spending Bill Excludes Johnson Amendment Repeal

Spending Bill Excludes Johnson Amendment Repeal

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Lawmakers have sought to repeal the Johnson Amendment through two channels, according to David L. Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofits. First, the House of Representatives placed a provision in the initial draft of its tax bill to repeal the amendment for houses of worship. The exception was later broadened before being taken out of the bill entirely. The 2018 appropriations bill, until Wednesday, had been the second means of freeing up 501(c)(3)s for partisan speech.

An appetite for the repeal remains, according to Thompson, with some lawmakers and advocates believing that the speech of a religious leader ought not to be controlled. The counterpoint, Thompson said, is that religious leaders’ speech is already controlled by the inability to share individuals’ confessions or scream “fire” in a crowded congregation. The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that a church-specific repeal could also cost the U.S. Treasury $2.1 billion over 10 years as political supporters get wise and shift contributions from non-exempt entities to exempt ones. Taxpayers do not currently get a deduction for donating to entities such as political action committees, Thompson said.

Source Name: 
The NonProfit Times
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