Members of Congress should be able to work together to protect houses of worship from having to pay taxes, especially in an election year when both parties want to earn the faith community’s vote.
In an era of pervasive partisan politics, however, not even that is a guarantee.
Some Republicans do want to tweak a portion of their 2017 tax bill that will now force nonprofits, including churches, to pay a 21 percent tax on the value of certain employee benefits. But most others downplay the problem or deny it needs to be addressed.
Assistant House Minority Leader Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is rallying Democrats around new legislation to repeal the provision.
But he can’t do it without help from Republicans, and calling their tax bill the “GOP tax scam” isn’t going to win over lawmakers who are fiercely protective of this congressional session’s biggest legislative achievement.
“(Democrats and Republicans) are describing the problem in very different ways,” said Galen Carey, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals. “One side is saying ‘this is an oversight,’ the other is calling it Republicans’ war on religion … overheated rhetoric probably won’t help us get a solution.”