Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), former chair of the House Judiciary Committee, today introduced legislation, the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act, to stop the Obama Administration from taxing religious institutions and employers for choosing to follow core tenets of their faith rather than bow to the HHS mandate that violates their conscience rights. Sensenbrenner introduced this bill with 57 cosponsors including lead co-sponsor Rep. Diane Black (R-TN).
“Obamacare gives the federal government the tools to tax religiously-affiliated schools, hospitals, universities and soup kitchens right out of existence. This is the question facing religious institutions and concerned employers today: will you violate your conscience and religious beliefs or pay a hefty tax to follow your faith?”
“The taxes are severe for deciding not to comply with the HHS mandate: $100 per employee per day. So, a religious institution that, say, has a church and an elementary school beside it that employs fifty employees total, which include the administrative and maintenance personnel, ends up being taxed $36,500 per employee per year. Or the fifty-employee institution would have to pay a tax of $1,825,000 per year, every year.
“I am introducing this bill to protect employers from Obamacare’s catch-22. Our religious liberties are not bartering chips. Let’s not treat them that way. This bill protects religious freedom from this massive infringement and attack.”
Transcript of Congressman Sensenbrenner’s Remarks at the Press Conference.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act leaves intact a grave assault to religious freedoms— the controversial HHS mandate that requires employers to provide drugs and services in their employee health care plans regardless of religious objections to those services.
Employers that fail to comply face staggering financial penalties. According to a February, 2012 Congressional Research Report, insurers and employers that do not comply with the HHS mandate could face a federal tax of $100 per day per employee, or a yearly tax of $36,500 per employee. Religious employers with hundreds of employees could be fined millions of dollars annually.
Facing this huge tax would force religious institutions like parochial schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, and universities to choose between violating their faith to keep their doors open or paying a potentially devastating tax.