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Capitol Hill Review

May 11-18, 2001 (Updated Weekly)

Table of Contents:

U.S. House of Representatives 107th Congress First Session

Adoption Credit Increased by the House
President's Abortion-Aid Bond Stands in the House

U.S. House of Representatives

Adoption Credit Increased by the House

On Thursday, May 17, a tax credit for adoption expenses was approved in the House by a vote of 420-0.

For families that adopt children with special needs, the tax credit is now $6,000 and for others is $5,000. With the new legislation, the tax credit would be increased to $10,000. (To see how your representative voted, visit http://clerkweb.house.gov/cgi-bin/vote.exe?year=2001&rollnumber=124) Also increased is the income level at which the credit starts to phase out, moving from $75,000 to $150,000.

In 1998, 44,000 taxpayers claimed the adoption credit with 50 percent incurring expenses above the $5,000 credit limit. According to estimates by the Congressional Joint Committee on taxation, the government would provide an additional $2-6 billion over 10 years in tax relief with this new legislation by doubling the tax credit limit and raising the family income cap.

Families spend anywhere from $8,000 to $30,000 to adopt a child. This tax credit would make adoption financially possible for more Americans said Representative Jim DeMint, (R-South Carolina) and chief sponsor of the bill.

("House OK's Raising Adoptive Credits," The Associated Press, May 17, 2001)

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President's Abortion-Aid Bond Stands in the House

The President's policy prohibiting $425 million in U.S. aid for global population assistance to groups that advocate abortion rights was upheld by the House on May 16, 2001.

The provision which was attached to an $8.2 billion State Department reauthorization bill passed 218-210. (To see how your representative voted, visit http://clerkweb.house.gov/cgi-bin/vote.exe?year=2001&rollnumber=115) In passing the measure, 32 Democrats joined Republican supporters in the measure for life (H.R. 1646 - Hyde of Illinois Amendment).

The most intense debate in the measure was prompted by the abortion provision.

Early on during his first week in office, the President signaled his support for the pro-life position on this issue with an executive order to ban the abortion funding. However, in the committee's version of the measure, Democrats on the House International Relations Committee included a provision to overturn the President's order.

According to Democrats, the policy was attacked as detrimental to international family planning efforts and dubbed as a "global gag rule," that exalted the free speech rights of organizations abroad. On the other side, Republicans argued that abortion does not belong in family planning discussions.

The issue was simple said Democrat leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri, "Do we empower women and families across the globe with the ability to plan for the number of children they will have? Or do we pull the rug out from under these important efforts?"

To support their claim that the legislation against abortion funding is unnecessary, Democrats pointed out that a 1973 federal law already prevents foreign organizations from using U.S. taxpayer money to pay for abortions. In rebuttal, GOP leaders accused foreign organizations of shifting money around to fund abortion efforts.

Representative Henry Hyde, (Republican-Illinois) and chairman of the International Relations Committee said, "Nobody is being gagged. If you want to talk about abortion, talk away. But not on our dime."

A longtime leader of possible effots in the House, Representative Hyde added, "Abortion is not family planning. Family planning is helping you get pregnant or keeping you from getting pregnant. It is not killing an unborn child after you become pregnant.

(Janelle Carter, "House Backs Bush's Abortion-Aid Ban," The Associated Press, May 16, 2001)

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