For months, congressional leaders, members and staffers have been haggling over a proposed $3.5 trillion spending bill.
The “Build Back Better Act” (HR 5376) has been described as the “largest piece of legislation in the history of the world” and would provide “free” community college, child care, universal preschool, and 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. The bill also raises taxes.
However, HR 5376 has currently stalled in Congress. Some moderate Democrats see the legislation as too sweeping and costly. More progressive ones believe the bill doesn’t go far enough.
And now, there’s growing concern that the bill’s changes to the tax code could worsen already existing financial penalties for couples who get married.
This concern comes from the bill’s changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which “helps low- to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break.”
This tax credit benefits those who work, and varies in amount according to one’s annual income, family size and marriage status.
The EITC maxes out at a certain amount depending on one’s income. For couples who get married, their income is combined for EITC purposes, and therefore the amount the couples receive is reduced or eliminated.
According to The Heritage Foundation, “the EITC credit is based on the pair’s combined incomes rather than their separate incomes; typically, when a couple marries, their combined income makes them ineligible for the credit entirely.”
“For example, if a nonmarried, childless couple each earn $10,000 per year, they will receive combined EITC credits worth $852; however, if they marry, the credit will be cut to $105.”
Recently, a group of 35 senators sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Ron Wyden, Chairman of the Committee on Finance, warning about these “harmful penalties for marriage.”
According to the letter, “the current draft of the reconciliation bill takes an existing marriage penalty in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and makes it significantly worse.”
“A couple in 2019 with two children where one parent earns $12,000 and the other $30,000 could pay $1,578 more in taxes if they are married … The reconciliation bill could make the same family significantly worse off. It could nearly double the marriage penalty, costing the same parents $2,713 if they choose to marry.”
“We believe that marriage is a vital social good. It is misguided and unfair for the government to build bigger barriers for couples to marry,” the letter concludes.
The bill faces a difficult path to becoming law. Democrat leaders are using a process called “reconciliation” to move the bill forward, which allows a bill to pass through the U.S. Senate with 50 votes rather than the usually required 60.
However, since no Republican senators currently support the bill and several Democrats don’t support the bill in its current form, HR 5376 is stuck unless and until a compromise is reached.
HD Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
Attacking Marriage: An Anti-God Agenda?
For Christians, it should not be surprising that marriage would be attacked by our increasingly secularized and anti-christian society. The union between one man and one woman in marriage is designed by God Himself as recorded in Genesis 2:24.
The push to place disincentives on those who follow this Biblical union, very simply, places a stumbling block in front of couples, by causing many to opt for sexual relations outside of marriage. These relations outside of marriage, otherwise known in Scripture as “fornication,” the Bible states unequivocally to be a sin with dire consequences (Hebrews 13:4, 1 Corinthians 6:18, Galatians 5:19-21).
Galatians 5:19-21 KJV – “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The Bible further states that if two people are having difficulty with not having sexual relations they should get married, “for it is better to marry than to burn” (1 Corinthians 7:9). This verse, however shocking to our society, is speaking the truth to the reader in love, by making the position of God abundantly clear regarding the serious nature of fornication.
It is also worth noting that there is an additional reason satan hates marriage. In Scripture, Christians (who have died or will be raptured prior to the Tribulation period) are referred to as the “Bride of Christ.” This is further underscored in the “parable of the ten virgins” in Matthew 25:1-13.
As Got Questions explains:
The imagery and symbolism of marriage is applied to Christ and the body of believers known as the church. The church is comprised of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and have received eternal life. Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be His bride (Ephesians 5:25–27). Just as there was a betrothal period in biblical times during which the bride and groom were separated until the wedding, so is the bride of Christ separate from her Bridegroom during the church age. Her responsibility during the betrothal period is to be faithful to Him (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:24). At the rapture, the church will be united with the Bridegroom and the official “wedding ceremony” will take place and, with it, the eternal union of Christ and His bride will be actualized (Revelation 19:7–9; 21:1-2).
Believers in Jesus Christ are the bride of Christ, and we wait with great anticipation for the day when we will be united with our Bridegroom. Until then, we remain faithful to Him and say with all the redeemed of the Lord, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).
Christians understand that what we are witnessing today is a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12).
Although much of the world may not understand the dark spiritual nature of their hatred for marriage, when we walk “according to the course of this world,” we are walking according to the direction satan himself is leading (Ephesians 2:1-6). Therefore as the world further rejects God, they are progressively going to walk in the direction of satan and his anti-God agenda. As Scripture states, those who are not with God are against Him (Matthew 12:30) and are subsequently going to align themselves in a way that is against the grain of God and His moral standards.