Conservatives hit GOP tax bill for nixing adoption credit

Greg Nash

The House Republican tax bill is drawing fire from the right because of a provision that would completely eliminate a tax credit for adoptive parents.

Religious groups, as well as House and Senate conservatives, say that by eliminating the credit, the proposal goes against the GOP’s “pro-life” platform.

The House’s chief tax writer has defended the removal of the credit, but it could pose yet another hazard to overcome as the bill moves forward.

“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 came out in support 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.

The credit is a one-time tax refund available for parents who adopt from foster care, internationally or through private domestic adoptions. It can be applied over the course of five years. For 2017, the federal adoption tax credit was $13,570.

An adoption can cost as much as $40,000 if a family uses a private agency, according to a survey from Adoptive Families Magazine.

Adoption advocates are also urging the provision be removed. The groups say if the bill passes with the provision intact, it will be 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 during an event on Friday hosted by Politico.

“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, wrote in an op-ed that the credit is “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.  

House Republicans a day earlier unveiled their long-awaited proposal to overhaul the tax code, a key legislative priority that the party and President Trump hope to pass before the end of the year. If successful, it would be the first tax-reform package enacted since 1986, but some on the right are voicing concerns.

Fiscal hawks are complaining about how the legislation could boost the deficit, and moderates are worried that the bill disproportionately benefits the wealthy.

There’s also the potential for conservatives to include a repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate in the package, which could be a particularly fraught fight. 

Tags Adoption law Adoption tax credit Ben Sasse Kevin Brady Tax credits Tax reform

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