Religious organizations may be allowed to support political candidates as part of new tax bill
President Trump is following through with one of his promises to let churches participate in political activity.
Sources tell the Washington Post that the repeal of the "Johnson Amendment" is being written into tax legislation that is currently developing in the House of Representatives.
This repeal that would end a six-decade-old ban on tax-exempt organizations, such as churches and universities, from endorsing political candidates. Lyndon Johnson first introduced it in 1954, nine years before he became president.
Trump said this would happen at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, stating: "I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution." The provision would support evangelical Christians who helped get him elected as the 45th president of the United States
Some reports say this may add challenges to a tax bill that is already riddled with political hurdles.
"Republicans are going to have enough problems getting tax reform done," former Senate minority leader Harry M. Reid's longtime aide said to the paper. "If they start loading it up with unrelated stuff like this one to score political points, it will just get bogged down and go nowhere."
However, incorporating the repeal into the tax bill gives it a greater chance of survival. The Washington Post notes that a stand-alone bill would certainly face a filibuster in the Senate, out of fear that the repeal would turn churches into Super PACS.
The repeal is not universally desired by religious groups. A alliance of 99 organizations, including many Jewish and Baptist groups, sent a plea to Congress last week for the ban to stay in place.