WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, details of the Republican Party’s proposed tax reform legislation were released, including plans to eliminate an adoption tax credit intended to lighten the financial burden of adoption for families.
“This will make it tougher to adopt. Period,” said Schylar Baber, executive director of Voice for Adoption, according to the Washington Post.
“So, the question is, who is not going to get adopted because of this?” Baber continued.
The tax credit, which was created through a bipartisan effort in 1996, allows families a maximum credit of $13,570 per eligible child. This amount can aid parents significantly, especially when families can spend upwards of $30,000 on the whole adoption process, according to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
The new GOP tax proposal would eliminate these credits and repeal a taxable income exclusion for employee adoption assistance programs. Both of these would go into effect in 2018.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Ne) told CNA that adoption assistance sends the message that the government is willing to help families.
“The adoption tax credit is a clear and legitimate statement by the government that we have a preferential policy for life,” Fortenberry said. “We are vigorously making the case of its inclusion in the tax package. This is a real time, real life policy that works.”
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex), the principal author of House Republicans’ tax overhaul plan, argues that eliminating the adoption tax credit would allow Congress to expand the child tax credit available to most taxpayers, which would be increased by about $600 if the tax reform package passes.
“I think this is a better approach for the vast majority of Americans who are left behind,” Brady told the Washington Post, saying that the tax plan would be “giving families more in their paychecks, especially the middle-class families that are crucial for adoption.”
Brady himself has two adopted sons, but did not utilize the tax credit since it is not available for families who make more than $242,000 annually.
On Nov. 2, national pro-life group the Susan B. Anthony List sent a letter to Congress, expressing opposition to the potential provision and highlighting the fact that the adoption tax credit creates stable homes for children.
“SBA List opposes the provision of the bill that repeals the adoption tax credit,” the letter read, saying “it is shocking that Congress would move to eliminate this life-affirming effort to make adoption a possibility for middle income American families.
“This important tax credit helps tens of thousands of families each year offset the steep costs of adopting children. We urge the pro-life House to remove this provision from their bill immediately,” the letter continued.
On Oct. 25, Bishop Frank Dewane of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement on the tax reform proposal, urging “the U.S. House of Representatives towards prudence, ensuring that they and the nation fully understand the impacts of tax reform proposals before voting on them.
“A clear understanding and careful consideration of the impacts of these tax proposals is essential for the sake of all people, but particularly the poor,” Dewane continued.
GOP staffers have told CNA that there are efforts underway in Congress to remove the adoption tax credit repeal from the tax reform bill as it moves forward.