According to a 2005 survey done by Adoptive Families, the average cost of adoption ranges from $20,000 to $25,000 a significant amount of money for many working-class families wishing to adopt a child. To alleviate this problem, an adoption tax credit was first instated in 1994 and later renewed in 2001. Along with the renewal of the tax credit adoption in 2001, the tax credit benefits associated with adoption were expanded, providing up to $10,000 in qualified tax credits to adoptive families.
Unfortunately, the 2001 renewal of the adoption tax credit is scheduled to expire in 2010. In anticipation of this approaching expiration date Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) has introduced a new measure, H.R. 471, which will make the current $10,000 adoption tax credit permanent. Congressman Wilson is optimistic about the prospects for passage of the bill, especially given the co-sponsorship of Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, a New York Democrat. If passed, the measure would provide adoptive families with a tax credit of up to $10,000 for expenses pertinent to both domestic and international adoptions. Further provisions of the measure also allow an employer to offer up to $10,000 in adoption expenses which will be excluded from income.
To emphasize the importance of H.R. 471, Wilson circulated a letter to his fellow representatives, saying, While some aid is available, the financial strain adoptive families undergo cannot be overstated. Along with Rep. Wilson, we lend our full support to this measure a measure we believe will assist in helping loving families afford adoption. Write your Congressman and Senators and let them understand just how important H.R. 471 is to you.
Our guest for today’s FRC Bloggers’ Briefing was Dr. Charles Dunn, dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University. Dr. Dunn discussed the upcoming presidential candidates and the future of religion in American politics. Tomorrow Dr. Dunn will be hosting Regent’s 2nd Annual Ronald Reagan Symposium, which will address such issues as whether religion has a proper role in politics, if Christians over-emphasize politics, and whether Americans can come together when religion often divides.
The event will be streamed live via webcast (see this link). Bloggers interested in interviewing Dr. Dunn or any of the conference panelists can contact me at jpc[at]frc.org.
The primaries are still months away, yet conservative Congressman Jim Nussle of Iowa is already coming out in support of Rudy Giuliani. In a note to Rich Lowry at National Review, Nussle wrote:
Perfect has become the enemy of the good, and we saw that borne out during this past Novembers elections. I am hopeful that our Party will avoid needless debates over a non-existent perfect candidate.
It is true that Mayor Giuliani and I dont agree on every issue. My support for a person who doesnt see eye to eye with me on all issues doesnt mean that I am turning my back on those beliefs. But our country is at a crossroads and we cannot forsake progress for perfection.
In examining the letter, Rick Moore makes the connection that Nussle leaves unstated:
Nussle does make the argument that there will never be a perfect candidate, and I fear that too many conservatives have become such single-issue voters (abortion) that they will eagerly back a weaker candidate just because of his views on that one issue alone. In doing so, they not only risk helping elect a Democrat whos not only pro-abortion, but pro-a lot of other stuff that conservatives find abhorrent.
Yes abortion is important, but the president really doesnt have that much control over an issue that has been decided by the courts. President Bush is anti-abortion, but has abortion stopped because hes president? No, and it probably wont until theres a change in the hearts of the people, and while the president may have some effect on that, in reality the president has little to no ability to change abortion in terms of its legal standing.
I am sympathetic to the pragmatism expressed both by Rep. Nussle and my friend Rick. In fact, I agree that the President has little or no control over the issue of abortion. And certain pro-choice candidates, if elected, might even appoint a judge that would help overturn Roe. Even so, I could not endorse anyone who fails on this key litmus test. Why would I hold a candidate responsible for an issue that isn’t under their control? Because I am an unabashed single-issue voter — and that issue is justice.
Each week, FRC Blog sponsors the FRC Bloggers Briefing in which we host a conference call that provides bloggers an opportunity to communicate with politicians, policy makers, religious leaders, and others who set the agenda within our nation’s Capital. Listed below are a few of the bloggers have written about previous briefings:
Dec. 14 — Ramesh Ponnuru, Senior Editor of National Review; Author of the Party of Death
The Washington Blade (Jan. 19) has a unique spin on President Bush’s new proposal for Iraq: “Troop Surge Unlikely to Help Gay Iraqis”:
The U.S. and its allies are both legally and morally responsible for the ongoing anti-LGBT violence in Iraq, and therefore curtailing it, said [Ali Hili, an exiled gay Iraqi living in London]. Under international law, the occupiers have a responsibility to protect the civilian population, and therefore it is their duty to ensure the wellbeing of Iraqi homosexuals.
A couple of weeks ago, I noted here that China’s one-child policy, along with sex-selective abortions, contributed to what is becoming a dangerous gender imbalance. According to a recent AP story, China has just renewed their one-child policy, despite the evidence that females are vanishing:
[Zhang Weiqing, minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission] said China’s basic policy — in effect since the late 1970s — was reviewed and renewed without change last month. The policy limits urban couples to one child and rural families to two to control the population and conserve natural resources. Beijing says it has helped prevent 400 million births and has aided the nation’s rapid economic development.
Lest the “prevention of births” in favor of rapid economic development seem too life-affirming, the Chinese government is taking new steps:
China has about 1.3 billion people — 20 percent of the global total. The government has pledged to keep the population under 1.36 billion by 2010 and under 1.45 billion by 2020, Zhang said.
It’s frightful to think what might happen if the number of births began to exceed the government’s pledged limit. We can only hope that PRC leaders would eat their words and move on. Besides, according to Zhang, growing up without brothers or sisters is a good thing:
“They are much better off than I was, being one of four kids,” said Zhang, 62. “I envy them.”
The Old Gray Lady has a tool that allows you to interactively compare words used in the 2007 State of the Union address to the addresses of previous years. Do a search for, say, “marriage,” and you’ll see that while completely absent in last night’s speech, the word was used nine times in the 2004 address.
In the past State of the Union speeches President Bush has been consistent in recognizing issues important to families. After the speech last night I would assume his focus is now away from families and includes Nancy Pelosi. Global warming? Amnesty? Redistribution of income (raising taxes on the rich)?
Past speeches mention of culture:
2003:By caring for children who need mentors and for addicted men and women who need treatment, we are building a more welcoming society, a culture that values every life. And in this work, we must not overlook the weakest among us. I ask you to protect infants at the very hour of their birth and end the practice of partial-birth abortion. And because no human life should be started or ended as the object of an experiment, I ask you to set a high standard for humanity and pass a law against all human cloning.
2004:To encourage right choices, we must be willing to confront the dangers young people face, even when they’re difficult to talk about. Each year, about 3 million teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases that can harm them or kill them or prevent them from ever becoming parents. In my budget, I propose a grassroots campaign to help inform families about these medical risks. We will double Federal funding for abstinence programs, so schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
Decisions children now make can affect their health and character for the rest of their lives. All of us, parents and schools and government, must work together to counter the negative influence of the culture and to send the right messages to our children.
A strong America must also value the institution of marriage. I believe we should respect individuals as we take a principled stand for one of the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization. Congress has already taken a stand on this issue by passing the Defense of Marriage Act, signed in 1996 by President Clinton. That statute protects marriage under Federal law as a union of a man and a woman and declares that one State may not redefine marriage for other States.
Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people’s voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our Nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.
The outcome of this debate is important, and so is the way we conduct it. The same moral tradition that defines marriage also teaches that each individual has dignity and value in God’s sight.
2005:Because a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable, we must strive to build a culture of life. Medical research can help us reach that goal, by developing treatments and cures that save lives and help people overcome disabilities - and I thank Congress for doubling the funding of the National Institutes of Health. To build a culture of life, we must also ensure that scientific advances always serve human dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of others. We should all be able to agree on some clear standards. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought and sold as a commodity. America will continue to lead the world in medical research that is ambitious, aggressive, and always ethical.
2006:A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: Human cloning in all its forms; creating or implanting embryos for experiments; creating human-animal hybrids; and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our Creator, and that gift should never be discarded, devalued, or put up for sale.