House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) defended the repeal of the adoption tax credit in the GOP’s current tax reform bill Wednesday following pushback from fellow Republicans and pro-life organizations.
"It is a tax credit that goes to higher income individuals. Middle and lower income people don't get it today," Ryan said during a discussion on the tax reform bill held by the Washington Examiner.
“If you’re taking a foster kid, adoption which we want more of, that doesn’t apply there so it really is a tax credit that just goes to a narrow group of people who actually do the adopting,” he added.
He said the "general philosophy” of the bill is “instead of giving you a tax break for one thing you do at one time, we want to give you a tax break for anything you do for all time, meaning lower your taxes always, you do what you want with your money."
“Every kid you have you’ll have an increase in your tax credit by $600 per child so you have a massive increase, a doubling of the family deduction and you have a dramatic increase in the per child tax credit itself,” he said, “so that means more relief for people who are raising families and it’s always, it’s not the one time you adopt a kid it’s every year forever more that to me is a very pro-family thing.”
The adoption tax credit, which is capped at $13,460, is meant to help families afford the often-expensive process of adoption. The credit was initially passed in 1997 and is not available to families making more than $242,000 a year.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the chief writer of the tax reform plan and himself the father of two adopted sons, said the credit leaves too many behind.
“I’ve always worried about the current credit because it helps many who are of a certain income level and who qualify,” Brady said. “I worry about those families who are modest income, who don’t itemize [deductions]. I worry the current credit leaves too many Americans behind.”
However, Brady told Hugh Hewitt Tuesday that Republicans are still debating whether or not to exclude the tax credit.
“This really is a debate between the old approach and a newer approach that can help more people,” Brady said.
“We’re going to have the discussion in the Ways and Means Committee, and with Republicans on do we want to stick with the old credit… or do we go with the tax cuts that provide about $2,000 dollars a year, and the new family credit that helps you with your child every year of their life?” he said.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List, said last week that they oppose repealing the adoption tax credit because it "helps tens of thousands of families each year offset the steep costs of adopting children."
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, called it "unfortunate" that the bill eliminates the credit.
"Considering that the adoption process can cost expectant parents up to $40,000," she said, "the March for Life recognizes how essential this tax credit is in promoting adoption and will continue to work to get this credit reinstated.”