The House of Representatives, just back from its August recess, is poised to pass a major spending bill. Tucked within that bill is Section 116, a provision that would make it nearly impossible for the Internal Revenue Service to investigate tax-exempt houses of worship that have endorsed or opposed political candidates in violation of the Johnson Amendment. The fate of that provision could be decided today.
Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee voted to cripple the IRS’ ability to enforce the Johnson Amendment – the law that ensures tax-exempt nonprofits, including houses of worship, cannot endorse or oppose candidates.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State issued the following statement today as the House Appropriations Committee narrowly voted down (24-28) an amendment with bipartisan support from Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Texas) that would have protected the Johnson Amendment:
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today joined 108 organizations that wrote to the House Appropriations Committee to urge its members to oppose a provision in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act that would weaken the enforcement mechanisms of the Johnson Amendment.
Tomorrow, the House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee will vote on a bill that could cripple enforcement of the Johnson Amendment. Americans United has joined with 108 other organizations to urge the committee to strip the troubling provision.