Senate Bill Doesn't Have House's Tax Break for `Unborn Children'

(Bloomberg) -- Shortly before passing their tax bill, Senate Republicans removed a provision that would have allowed tax breaks for “unborn children,” a top GOP aide confirmed on Monday.

The proposal “on unborn children was not included in the measure that passed the Senate,” said Julia Lawless, a spokeswoman for Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch.

The provision -- which passed the House in its tax bill last month -- would have allowed parents to set up tax-advantaged accounts, known as 529s, to save for college expenses of an unborn “child in utero.” Anti-abortion advocates sought its inclusion, while abortion-rights leaders slammed the language, arguing that conferring a right in connection with fetuses creates a legal basis to chip away at abortion rights.

Lawless said the language was deemed incompatible with the so-called Byrd Rule, which prohibits changes that aren’t directly related to taxes and spending under the process that Senate leaders are using to pass their tax bill. The final bill was released Friday evening and passed 51-49, with only Republican votes, a few minutes before 2 a.m. in Washington on Saturday.

The provision was dropped from the final iteration of the legislative text released Friday before the vote, according to a Senate aide who asked not to be named because the staffer wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

The fact the measure was found to have run afoul of Senate rules suggests it won’t be included in the tax package that the House and Senate must settle on before a final bill -- should it pass both chambers again -- is sent to President Donald Trump for enactment.

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