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Faith Leaders Call For U.S. Senate To Repeal Johnson Amendment

Washington, DC – A group of faith leaders and organizations representing an estimated 40 million Americans issued a letter to members of the U.S. Senate urging the Senate to vote on H.R. 88 to advance middle-class tax cuts and reforms passed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and to repeal the Johnson Amendment.

Faith & Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed, National Religious Broadcasters President Jerry Johnson, American Values President Gary Bauer, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee President Penny Nance, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., First Baptist Church of Dallas Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress, and American Center for Law & Justice Executive Director Jordan Sekulow, signed the letter encouraging the Senate to pass H.R. 88 before the end of the 115th Congress.

“Critically, the bill repeals the Johnson Amendment, which has been used for decades to harass, intimidate, and persecute churches, other houses of worship, and nonprofit, faith-based charities by threatening them with the loss of tax-exempt status simply for exercising their First Amendment right to speak on public policy and political matters,” the faith leaders stated.

Inserted into the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 by then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson to silence his political opposition, it has been used by the IRS to conduct invasive audits of Christian ministries and withhold the tax exempt status from nonprofits for political reasons.

In addition to enhancing the middle class tax passed last year and repeal of the Johnson Amendment, H.R. 88  also expands and preserves retirement savings and clarifies that churches need not file federal tax forms or pay taxes on the cost of parking and transit benefits provided to their staff. The legislation also expands 529 education expense plans to allow unborn children to qualify as a designated beneficiary so parents can start saving for their education immediately. 

“America’s families, churches, and the unborn need these changes now. We must not fail them. We look forward to working with you to pass H.R. 88 before the end of this session and completing the good work that began with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act earlier this year,” the letter concluded.

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