Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ford, Blunt Introduce Bill to Help Charities Help Communities

Congressman Harold Ford (D-Tenn.) and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) today introduced the Charitable Giving Act, a bill to help charities help those in need. The legislation is very similar to legislation they introduced in the 108th Congress. The most comprehensive step toward empowering charities and faith-based organizations, the motion to go to conference between the House's Charitable Giving Act and the Senate's CARE Act was blocked on unrelated matters in the Senate last year.

"Our bill aims to help more people help their neighbors through charitable giving. At a time when our nation is in need of charity more than ever, the bill will empower Americans who have been desperate to help the victims of the recent devastation caused by the hurricanes," Ford said. "I am proud to reach across the aisle and join the Majority Whip to introduce the Charitable Giving Act. This is a bill that I think all of the Congress can unite behind."

"In the wake of two back-to-back hurricanes, Americans are doing what Americans do best: helping one another," Blunt said. "Our bill will help expand these charities' base of resources, so they can continue to do the good work of helping the hungry, the sick, the addicted, and the elderly. The Charitable Giving Act will encourage Americans to tap into their resources to help those less fortunate."

The Charitable Giving Act, cosponsored by more than 70 Members, will expand charitable resources by:

  • Providing 86 million Americans who do not itemize on their tax returns the opportunity to deduct a portion of their charitable contributions,
  • Providing incentives for individuals to make tax-free contributions to charity from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs),
  • Raising the cap on corporate charitable contributions from 10% to 20%,
  • Reauthorizing a program to allow low income, working Americans to build assets through matched savings accounts, among other provisions

"The compassion and the will exist in the American spirit to help communities in need," said Ford. "Our bill intends to remove obstacles to charitable giving and tap our nation's deep well of compassion."

"One of the oldest traditions in this country is that of helping our neighbors. We've made it through some of our toughest times as a nation by reaching out to each other," Blunt said. "The Charitable Giving Act will encourage more Americans to look for ways to help, and I'm proud that Congressman Ford has joined me in this effort to make our tax code reflect our values as a people."