Republicans Defeat Vote to Restore Adoption Tax Credit Despite Support From Pro-Life Groups

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 8, 2017   |   12:25PM   |   Washington, DC

In a surprising committee vote, House Republicans defeated an amendment to restore the adoption tax credit to their tax reform plan despite support from pro-life organizations.

Leading pro-life groups are disappointed that the Republican proposal for tax reform ditches the adoption tax credit.

Adoption is a wonderful alternative to abortion and a beautiful thing in and of itself — as adoptive families look to provide loving homes for children in need. Sadly the adoption process is fraught with extensive paperwork, bureaucratic hoops and hurdles, and a tremendous expense that is often challenging for most families.

That’s why pro-life organizations are speaking out today against a part of the Republican tax plan that involves getting rid of the adoption tax credit. While the idea obviously saves money for the federal government, pro-life Advocates argue that surely there are better places to save money than helping adoptive families in need.

Yet, yesterday during a committee vote, Republicans defeated a Democrat proposal to restore the adoption tax credit on a party-line vote. Here is more on the vote and why one Republican leader said the amendment was defeated:

Though the credit is backed by those on both sides of the aisle, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said he would encourage the committee to vote against a Democratic amendment introduced late Tuesday to add the credit back in to the House tax-reform bill.

Brady said he understands the criticisms, but noted the credit was removed because there aren’t very many families able to use it. Since the credit is only available to people who itemize their deductions, wealthier people tend to take advantage of it. Brady said more people would benefit under the proposed bill.

“I’ve always worried about the current credit because it helps many who are of a certain income level and who qualify,” Brady said. “I worry about those families who are modest income, who don’t itemize [deductions]. I worry the current credit leaves too many Americans behind.”

Brady, an adoptive father of two, said he wants to work with members of both parties to find a better policy than the existing credit.

The Democratic amendment to restore the credit was defeated along party lines late Tuesday.

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Religious groups, as well as House and Senate conservatives, say that by eliminating the credit, the bill goes against the GOP’s anti-abortion platform. The credit provides up to $13,570 in tax savings per adopted child.

“We don’t want to be a caucus that funds Planned Parenthood and does away with the adoption tax credit after saying ‘adoption not abortion,’ ” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told The Hill.

Hopefully a revised adoption tax credit is in the offing but Republican leaders need to realize this is a pro-life priority. This is a practical way to provide support for families who are adopting and to promote alternatives to abortion.

The criticism that the adoption tax credit only benefits wealthier families who itemize that’s not a solid justification for ditching the adoption tax credit entirely but rather should prompt Republicans to revise the tax credit in a way that benefits every adoptive family regardless of their level of income.

Fortunately, pro-life advocates in the House are pushing to restore the language.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), leader of the House Pro-Life Caucus, said in a statement to The Hill the deduction “is vital to helping families deal with the often-high upfront costs — like travel and legal fees — of adopting vulnerable children, including kids with special needs.”

Another conservative, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), on Tuesday sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Brady urging them to restore the credit, calling it “a moral responsibility for our pro-life, pro-family party.”

“Encouraging adoption discourages abortion: that simple cause-and-effect is very clear,” Biggs wrote.