On July 19, the House of Representatives passed a combined package of two 2019 appropriations bills, one of which includes language that would effectively block enforcement of the Johnson Amendment for churches. This package passed largely on party lines and action now turns to the Senate.
The Johnson Amendment is a decades-old protection of nonpartisanship for the charitable sector, and enacting this language would tear nonprofits away from their missions, erode public trust in the sector, and help political donors dodge taxes at the expense of the federal treasury.
The Senate version of the Financial Services/General Government (FSGG) bill is expected to be on the Senate floor next week, in addition to other spending bills potentially covering Agriculture and Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. The Senate version does not currently contain any anti-Johnson Amendment language, and Senate leadership has thus far upheld a commitment to keep divisive policy provisions out of this year’s appropriations bills. These bills will eventually go to conference committee, where differences will need to be reconciled.
Similar to the omnibus 2018 spending bill in March, preventing this harmful language from moving forward will need to occur when the bills are in the conference committee. Please stay tuned, as we send continued updates on what to expect next and how you can help keep partisan politics out of our sector.