Causes advocated by U.S. Baptists were both winners and losers in a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress that postpones another major budgetary showdown for at least six months.
Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty, said those who rely on houses of worship “can breathe a sigh of relief” that the 2,232-page bill signed into law last Wednesday did not include a policy rider weakening the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 tax law preventing charitable organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.
“Some hoped they could slip a bad policy change into must-pass legislation, but advocates for keeping nonprofits nonpartisan spoke up and prevailed,” Tyler said in a statement March 21.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said the legislation inflicted “not only injury but insult,” because it does nothing to end the $500 million a year in tax dollars each year going to Planned Parenthood.
“A half billion dollars of United States tax-confiscated money [is] now sent to the nation’s leading abortion provider,” Mohler said in a podcast briefing March 26 describing Planned Parenthood as “an organization that we were promised would be defunded.”
“We’re being told that that taxpayer money will not directly pay for abortions, but make no mistake,” Mohler said. “Any intellectually honest person will recognize that that money becomes fungible and eventually it pays for the organization. And the organization, beyond question, has as its major industrial effect the killing of unborn babies in American wombs.”
Both sides of the immigration debate wound up empty handed in the omnibus bill. President Trump did not get the $25 billion he wanted in long-term funding for a border wall, and Congress heads toward mid-term elections without a solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era policy discontinued by the current administration.
CREDO Action — the political action network of CREDO Mobile, a mobile phone company that uses its revenues to fund progressive causes for social change — said Democrats in Congress “turned their backs on immigrants again.”
“They broke their promise to protect Dreamers repeatedly in recent months, and they just led their colleagues in Congress in approving more than a billion dollars for Trump’s deportation machine,” said CREDO Campaign Manager Nicole Regalado. “Schumer, Pelosi and every Democrat who voted for the omnibus spending bill and increased funding for ICE and CBP, voted to empower Trump’s racist and xenophobic agenda.”
Overlapping in the news cycle with March for Our Lives rallies in Washington and around the country, the spending package includes language to fix the National Instant Criminal Background Check System regulating the purchase of a gun.
NICS should have prevented the shooter — an Air Force veteran with a record of domestic abuse convictions — from buying firearms, but the Air Force failed to enter the information into the background check system.