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FAITH IN ACTION

U.S. House of Representatives Votes To Repeal Johnson Amendment

Washington, DC – The over 1.8 million members and supporters of the Faith & Freedom Coalition applaud the U.S. House of Representatives repeal of the Johnson Amendment as part of H.R. 88, the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018.

H.R. 88 repeals the Johnson Amendment, which was inserted into the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 by then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson that has been used by the IRS for years to conduct invasive audits of Christian ministries and withhold the tax exempt status from nonprofits for political reasons. The legislation also advances the middle-class tax cuts and reforms already passed by Congress as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act earlier this year.

“The U.S House has taken a critical step to repeal the Johnson Amendment which has hung as a sword of Damocles over the faith community for decades,” said Chairman Ralph Reed. “Repealing the Johnson Amendment will restore the right to political speech by pastors, churches and ministries.”

Last year President Trump suspended enforcement by the IRS by Executive Order, and the U.S. House included repeal of the Johnson Amendment as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but the provision was stripped out of the final legislation by the U.S Senate.

“We urge the U.S. Senate to consider H.R. 88 and repeal 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,” added Reed.

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. Finally, the bill expands 529 education expense plans to allow unborn children to qualify as a designated beneficiary so parents can start saving for their education immediately.

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