Morning Action: Conservatives and Liberals Hit IRS for Proposed Nonprofit Rules
IRS. The Internal Revenue Service is being called out by both liberals and conservatives for proposed rules changes for nonprofit groups:
Three months after the administration unveiled a controversial new rule for 501(c)(4) nonprofits, both liberal and conservatives groups are hoping a record amount of comments and a deluge of attention from Capitol Hill will persuade the Internal Revenue Service to at least pare back the proposals before finalizing the new rule.
“No one thinks the proposals are perfect. There is near unanimity among liberals and conservatives that the effort was a bit too broad,” said Stephen Spaulding, a staff counsel with the liberal advocacy group Common Cause, which is generally supportive of revamping campaign finance laws.
House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has taken up the battalion in Congress to beat back the regulations. His bill to place a one-year moratorium on finalizing the regulations passed, with about a dozen Democrats helping out, on Wednesday.
“The construction of the proposed new rules will restrict the free speech of citizens and the groups with which they may freely associate under the Constitution. … This purported government interest in clarity must be weighed against the fundamental First Amendment freedoms of speech and association,” Camp said in his comments.
Read our key vote in favor of the “Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014.”
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson explained how the media grossly mischaracterizes efforts to protect religious liberty:
“For about two weeks you got a nonstop barrage of lies in the media,” Anderson said in the interview with The Foundry’s Genevieve Wood, two days after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewervetoed the state legislature’s short amendment to Arizona’s 15-year-old religious liberty law.
Brewer, a Republican, had come under intense political and media pressure — including from pundits who claimed Christians were supporting a “homosexual Jim Crow law” – to disregard the concerns of those who don’t want government to compel them to compromise their religious beliefs by endorsing same-sex unions.
The Foundry asked Anderson, who writes about religious freedom and the marriage debate as Heritage’s William E. Simon Fellow, to sort out the issue and what is at stake. He said:
It’s really important that all citizens refuse to believe the lie that the media is selling here. Everyone has the right to live and love how they want to in America. But no one should have the right to coerce another person into celebrating their relationship.
BUDGET. The Obama administraion’s budget is scheduled to arrive Tuesday, and with it, partisan debates over spending and deficits will heat up (sub. req’d):
The scheduled arrival of the administration’s fiscal 2015 budget plan Tuesday will open a season of partisan sniping over spending and deficits that’s likely to extend through Election Day. Though both parties stress the need for job creation, they are blaming each other for gridlock and differ on policies to spur economic growth. Senate Republicans are finishing a fiscal and economic plan they expect to unveil about a week after the release of the administration’s blueprint that is intended to show the GOP has goals beyond undercutting the health care overhaul.
JOB CREATION. Senate Republicans will soon unveil a job creation agenda in early March (sub. req’d):
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) 30% and several other senior Republicans said the plan would offer general goals on taxes, trade, energy and regulatory curbs and said it would incorporate goals that have consensus support within the party. They said the health care component of the plan was still being developed.
Although both parties agree on the need for job creation, they blame each other for gridlock and differ on how to spur growth. Republicans argue for lower taxes and less regulation, while Democrats call for new initiatives for workers and employers, funded by tax hikes and spending cuts.
With a two-year budget agreement (PL 113-67) in place, the coming fiscal 2015 budget season looms as a forum to showcase competing fiscal visions in a tough campaign year.
Both sides are expected to seek test votes on the two fiscal 2015 budget proposals: one by Obama and one by House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. Senate Democrats have opted not to develop their own plan, noting that the top line for discretionary spending is already set.
Portman said GOP senators were conferring with House Republicans, but he also signaled the plan would not be as detailed as the Ryan budget or the new tax overhaul plan by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan.