From completing work on pending appropriations bills to a landmark overhaul of criminal sentencing laws, the week before Christmas on Capitol Hill will go down as a hectic one, to say the least. Lawmakers are also trying to make some headway on various tax measures and extend and/or reauthorize a number of important government programs, all against a backdrop of dwindling legislative days and the likely absences of lame-duck lawmakers not coming back next year.
With under one month to go before a historic midterm election, Democrats could take control of the House in 2019 and may even stand an outside chance of gaining power in the Senate. But, as Republicans in Congress prepare for this potential “blue wave” on November 6th, they have pressed ahead in September on a vast array of matters, making some significant progress on a number of issues following their annual summer break.
For the past twelve years, the IRA Charitable Rollover has allowed generous, older Americans to donate hundreds of millions of dollars from their Individual Retirement Accounts directly to America’s charities – and the populations they serve – during a time when traditional charitable contributions are expected to decline because of recent changes to the United States tax code. The IRA Rollover has generated an enormous amount of new charitable giving to thousands and thousands of nonprofits that work every day to enrich lives and strengthen communities across the country. Given the great success of the IRA Rollover, and the extent to which the charitable sector and donors alike have come to rely on this critical giving incentive, CGP was proud to lead the fight in Congress to make the IRA Rollover a permanent part of the tax code at the end of 2015. And with this permanent, albeit limited, IRA Rollover firmly in place and the House of Representatives considering additional tax reform measures this year, now is a critical time to push for an expanded IRA Rollover provision.
A bipartisan bill, the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act, was introduced today by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) as an original co-sponsor, to protect taxpayers and encourage charitable giving.
“Charitable organizations, including churches, synagogues, and other religiously-based entities, are the life-blood of services to those in need in our society, and I am committed to a tax policy that amplifies their ability to serve our community,” said Rep. Smith. “Americans have been generous patrons of charitable causes, and we want to ensure that everyone has the support they need to continue their generosity to charitable and philanthropic causes.”
In the work I do for the Christian Church Foundation, our message is rooted in the Good Book (Bible) of how we as Christians are called to give of our time, talent and treasure (or wealth, wisdom, and work) to build the kingdom of God on earth. The Old Testament speaks of giving our “first fruits”—or 10 percent of the harvest—to the church for its work. We are then implored to give an “offering” to support the widows and orphans, the aliens and the poor.
In the New Testament the scriptures call for us to give out of our abundance, and in response to the measure we have been blessed. The topics of giving and sharing are noted in the Bible more times than the topics of love and faith! And two-thirds of Jesus’ parables addressed how we care for others by sharing of our resources.
I would like to begin by extending my sincere gratitude to the CGP Staff and 2017 Board of Directors especially Cathy Sheffield, previous Board Chair, and Elizabeth Ayers, previous Conference Chair, for their leadership. Because of their efforts we continue to move forward with momentum and a clear vision to serve our members and the broader charitable gift planning community.