No one knows what will be in the House Republicans’ tax-reform package proposal, but we will find out on Wednesday when they introduce their bill. Americans United’s main concern is that it might include language that will strip the Johnson Amendment from the tax code.
The Johnson Amendment is the 60-plus-year-old provision that ensures that tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, don’t endorse or oppose the political candidates. The provision protects houses of worship and other charitable organizations from being turned into tools of political candidates and parties. Americans do not want our charities and houses of worship to be torn apart by partisan campaign politics.
Americans do not want houses of worship to become flashpoints for divisive forms of partisan politics.
The House plan is to introduce the bill on Nov. 1. Even if the language to strip or weaken the Johnson Amendment isn’t in that version of the bill, the House Ways and Means Committee could amend the legislation during the markup on Nov. 6. The bill will then quickly move to the House floor for debate the week of Nov. 13.
Americans United is prepared for a fight to protect the Johnson Amendment. We have spent the last several months educating members of Congress about the provision. We have letters from 5,500 non-profit organizations, more than 4,200 faith leaders, and nearly 100 religious and denominational organizations urging Congress to reject efforts to repeal or weaken the law. And we have polls showing the vast majority of Americans support the current law. In addition, 91 members of Congress wrote to the House leadership to speak out against efforts to strip the Johnson Amendment.
We need your help, too. Today is our Day of Action. Please call your member of Congress and tell him or her that you also oppose language to repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment. You can also join our thunderclap or our 1 p.m. tweetstorm.