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GOP Tax Reform Will Repeal 60-Year Old Law Banning Churches From Endorsing Political Candidates

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Trump Wants More Campaign Cash

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) says Republican tax reform planned for this year will include repeal of the Johnson Amendment, the 1954 law that bans churches, religious institutions, faith-based organizations, and many non-profits from endorsing or publicly opposing political candidates. Repeal of the law, which was re-affirmed under President Ronald Reagan, was a campaign promise to evangelical Christian conservatives from President Donald Trump, who has said he will “get rid of and totally destroy“ it.

“Places of worship across America need to be free to practice their faith without worrying about Washington or the IRS targeting their religious freedom,” Congressman Brady, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, told conservative activists Friday at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Convention. The Hill reports he was cheered. “So in our Republican tax reform, we’re going to repeal the damaging effects of the Johnson Amendment once and for all.”

The religious right for years has wanted the law repealed, falsely claiming it’s a First Amendment violation of the rights of pastors to speak. They have continually falsely claimed it bans them from delivering their message to their flocks. Some have falsely called it part of “an agenda to silence Christians,” to “muzzle pastors,” and claim it “threatens churches’ freedoms.”

Contrary to what the religious right would like America to believe the Johnson Amendment does not stop anyone from advocating for or against a particular issue. Pastors and priests and all faith leaders are absolutely allowed to guide their followers down whatever path they like. Legally they can preach against abortion and same-sex marriage, should they wish. They can preach for or against marijuana legalization and gambling. What they cannot do is endorse or oppose a political candidate.

Violating the Johnson Amendment could lead to the IRS revoking their tax-exempt status. NCRM was unable to find any instance of the IRS doing so because of the Johnson Amendment.

Meanwhile, Americans today pay over $80 billion in extra taxes to make up for the shortfall caused by religious non-profits that are tax-exempt. That’s hundreds of dollars per person to subsidize religious institutions. 

Yet far right wing groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom are at the forefront of the movement to force Americans to continue to carry the load for religious institutions while working to allow even more money in politics.

President Trump wants the law repealed so his supporters can donate money to churches, and those churches can turn around and endorse his re-election, and donate those tax-deductible funds to his campaign.

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Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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‘Name Me One Thing’: Biden Blasts Republicans for Not Being ‘For’ Anything

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During his press conference Wednesday afternoon President Joe Biden blasted the Republican Party, suggesting they stand for nothing.

“Think about this: What are Republicans for?” the President asked. “What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for.”

“And so, the problem here is, I think what I have to do,” Biden said, noting a change in tactics, “I have to make clear to the American people what we are for,” referring to his Democratic Party.

Republicans during the 2020 presidential election literally stood for nothing: they didn’t bother to craft a 2020 platform.

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Manchin Moves to Upstage Biden: Schedules Speech on Filibuster During Presidential Press Conference

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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin is taking a page out of fellow pro-filibuster Democrat Krysten Sinema’s book: giving a Senate floor speech during a critical presidential event.

Senator Sinema chose to be MIA during President Joe Biden’s rare trip to Capitol Hill recently to meet with Senate Democrats to shake hands and twist arms to convince holdouts to support changes to the filibuster so they can pass his democracy-protecting agenda.

Senator Manchin has chosen to schedule a Senate floor speech on preserving the filibuster at 4:30 PM ET, smack-dab in the middle of President Biden’s rare press conference, this one taking a look at his first year in office.

News via HuffPost’s senior politics reporter Jennifer Bendery:

UPDATE:
He’s not sitting with his own party.

 

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Watch Live: President Biden Holds Press Conference on His First Year in Office

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President Joe Biden will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 4:00 PM ET, discussing his first year in office.

Many across the media are framing this as an opportunity for him to address his “failing” legislative and economic goals while never reporting that Republicans have done all they can to block it – including pushing a pro-COVID agenda.

You can watch live, below, via several different feeds. Most cable news channels are expected to carry the press conference live, and you can also watch online and on cable via C-SPAN.

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