The House Republican tax bill, unveiled on Thursday, would completely eliminate a major tax credit for parents who adopt a child, a move that has drawn fire from religious groups, as well as House and Senate conservatives.
These groups say that by eliminating the credit, the proposal goes against the GOP’s “pro-life” platform.
“Being pro-life means being pro-adoption. Congress must remember this as we work through the details of tax reform in the coming weeks,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) tweeted Friday.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), the head of the House Republican Study Committee caucus, also blasted the removal of the credit on Friday.
“Tax Bill is strong but needs to include adoption tax credit. Providing a home for a child that is unwanted or special needs is pro-life!” Walker tweeted.
In 2017, the federal adoption tax credit was $13,570. The credit is a one-time tax refund available for parents who adopt from foster care, internationally or through private domestic adoptions and can be applied over the course of five years.
According to a survey from Adoptive Families Magazine, an adoption can cost couple’s as much as $40,000 if a family uses a private agency.
Adoption advocates argue that the removal of the credit would make it harder and more expensive for American families to adopt.
“We are deeply concerned by the elimination of the adoption tax credit within the House Republicans’ tax reform proposal,” the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group said in a statement. “Billed as a framework to help American families, it does exactly the opposite by cutting a credit designed to help American families adopt children.”
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) defended the elimination of the credit on Friday.
“There are tough choices, when you look at medical expenses, student loan, the adoption tax credit, something near and dear to me,” said Brady, who is the father of two adopted children.
“These are tough calls and the call is this, do we want a tax code that has special provisions you may use once in your life or do we want a tax code that lowers rates and you get help every year of your life?”
David French, a senior fellow at the conservative National Review Institute, called the credit “one of the government’s most important pro-life policies.”
“As things now stand, though, this Republican Congress may well end up funding Planned Parenthood while abolishing the adoption tax credit. That’s intolerable,” French wrote Friday.