The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a major tax reform bill, which had drawn caution from the U.S. bishops, who had warned that it could place additional burdens on the working poor.
With an official vote of 227-205, the bill was opposed by all House Democrats, as well as 13 Republicans.
It will next go to the Senate. It is uncertain whether it will have enough votes to pass there.
U.S. bishops had called parts of the tax legislation “unconscionable” in a Nov. 9 letter, signed by Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Oscar Cant√∫ of Las Cruces, who chairs the Committee on International Justice and Peace; and Bishop George V. Murry, S.J. of Youngstown, who chairs the Committee on Catholic Education.
“As written, this proposal appears to be the first federal income tax modification in American history that will raise income taxes on the working poor while simultaneously providing a large tax cut to the wealthy,” they said.
They also objected to provisions in the bill that would act as disincentives for charitable giving, affordable housing projects and community revitalization.
The bishops did highlight some positive aspects of the tax reform, including in the areas of education and child tax credits.