Last week the House Republicans unveiled their tax reform package, H.R 1. Since many tax credits and tax deductions were eliminated there were a few that CWLA and other advocates had hoped would be saved. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credits did survive at a much smaller level but one that was eliminated was the Adoption Tax Credit.
One of the challenges the House will have is balancing tax simplicity versus the more complex ways the current tax code values certain families and needs. The Adoption Tax Credit is one example. Because of the unique and valued roll these families provide to children, we have created a tax credit, just as the tax code (and policy makers) value other items such as having children, higher education, child care, and perhaps the biggest item purchasing a home.
Some reservations are starting to be expressed on the elimination of the Adoption Tax Credit with at least one Senator, Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) voicing his concerns over it elimination. Some other members of the Senate, including Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have a history of sponsoring legislation to create a credit or at least a tax deduction in past congresses. Adoption and child welfare advocates are also raising concerns, Why top tax writer Rep. Kevin Brady, father of two adopted kids, didn’t protect the adoption tax break.
To make your voices heard CWLA is joining with other advocates to Save the Adoption Tax Credit! Here is how you can help: Send your Members of Congress a message by visiting https://AdoptionTaxCredit.org/Take-Action/. Be sure to include your name, full address, and email address so that your Members of Congress are able to respond to their constituent!
Beyond the numerous choices the package makes is that the proposal (and the Senate instructions) increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Some supporters will argue that that deficit can be overcome through increased growth but there are many economists who question that. If it does increase the deficit, then watch for follow up efforts to cut entitlement and mandatory programs.
Next steps begin when the House Ways and Means Committee starts its mark-up (amendment and debate in committee). That could take most of this week if they can maintain their unity. Some provisions are likely to be traded off as leadership seeks to keep the Majority party united. There could be some other controversies such as the President and some House members suggestions that parts of the ACA be repealed as part of this package.
After the House moves their bill out of Committee this week, the goal is to start the House floor debate soon and complete action before they take off for Thanksgiving, ideally by the end of next week. The Senate hopes to unveil their effort sometime this week and many Senators are saying they are not obligated to follow the House bill and they will instead have their own ideas.
Any unexpected controversies that would cause the Republicans to lose a few votes could push the entire package beyond the Christmas break deadline they are pushing for.