Republicans Restore Adoption Tax Credit to Tax Reform Bill, Pro-Life Groups Cheer

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 9, 2017   |   4:24PM   |   Washington, DC

Congressional Republicans have restored the adoption tax credit to their tax reform bill after criticism from pro-life groups over plans to scrap it.

Some Republican lawmakers said the bill was only benefiting wealthy families and that middle class families considering adoption were not receiving tax credits under the current law. They wanted to revise the law to provide better support for middle class families but scrapped the tax credit instead of spending time restructuring it.

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 is a tremendous expense that is often challenging for most families.

That’s why pro-life organizations were speaking out against a part of the Republican tax plan that involved 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.

Today, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Republican House leadership restored the adoption tax credit in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

One leading pro-life organization was quick to praise Congressional Republicans for restoring the adoption tax credit. Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, told LifeNews:

Adoption affirms the unborn child’s right to life, allowing each baby to enter the world as a blessing for another family. While in effect, the adoption tax credit has served as an effective way to encourage adoption by easing the often-steep financial expense that can be incurred by adopting a child.

The right-to-life movement has long promoted adoption as an alternative for single mothers facing unexpected pregnancies, offering them a viable alternative to abortion. Keeping the adoption process easier for families who want to adopt can offer encouragement to those mothers considering adoption as an alternative.

Previously, 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 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.

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.

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.