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GOP to Repeal Johnson Amendment's Muzzle on Pastors Through Tax Reform

11-02-2017
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House Republicans have finally unveiled their new tax reform bill. Despite some delays, Republican leadership insists they are still on schedule to have the bill on President Trump's desk by the end of the year.

"Our goal in the House is to get this bill out of the House, passed on the floor by Thanksgiving," House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers told CBN News.

READ: $1,182 for Your Family? Here's How New GOP Tax Cuts Could Affect You

The hold-up centered on a proposal to end the federal income deduction for state and local taxes utilized by high tax states like New York and California. GOP lawmakers in those states are hesitant to support a plan that fails to preserve that deduction.

McMorris Rodgers told CBN News they delayed the release in order to get a bill that everyone in their conference can rally behind.
 
"It's important we get this launch right, and so we're putting the final touches on our proposal," McMorris Rodgers said.
 
She traveled cross-country this month on a Faces of Tax Reform tour speaking with Americans about the benefits of a simple tax plan.
 
"Tax reform is very complicated, there's now more than four million words in our tax code, it's longer than the Bible, right? Without the good news," says McMorris Rodgers. "And I think it's very important that our members stay focused on the overall goal of providing tax relief to individuals and families and businesses so that everyone can reach their full potential."
 
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, a House member since 1987, is ecstatic his party might finally accomplish a major tax overhaul.
 
"It's going to be a tax simplification, only three or four levels of income, you're going to literally, 80% of the American people are going to be able to fill out their income taxes on the back of a postcard," says Smith. "The popular deductions like home mortgage interest rates and charitable contributions are going to continue, there's going to be a doubling of the child tax credit, so if you have children you're going to see that doubled. So there's a lot of positive things in it."
 
Another score Republicans hope to make through the tax bill: repealing the Johnson Amendment.
 
"I'm excited about the Johnson Amendment being put in there that will address the rights of churches and nonprofits to be able to speak without losing their tax exempt status," Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., tells CBN News.
 
Hice says GOP leaders and President Trump are united in wanting to end the law and seeing the tax plan move forward.
 
"I think we're going to see the economic engine of America boom if we're able to get this over the finish line," Hice said.
 
Once debate begins, sticking points could range from tax brackets to SALT deductions to 401(k) changes. Republican Leaders hope to keep members focused on the big framework and not the details, in order to get the tax plan passed.

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