Bipartisan House Super-Majority Passes "America Gives More Act"

Thursday, July 17, 2014
Arlington, VA

This afternoon, the United States House of Representatives passed an important legislative package impacting philanthropy, the “America Gives More Act of 2014” (H.R. 4719), with a bipartisan super-majority vote of 277-130.

While a sizable number of Democrats voted against the bill because of concerns over how to pay for these provisions, they nonetheless expressed support for the policies advanced by the charitable provisions in the bill.

H.R. 4719 includes several provisions of particular importance to foundations. First, it would make the IRA charitable rollover permanent through a provision adapted from legislation sponsored by Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL-18). Second, the bill includes a provision, adapted from legislation introduced by Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN-3), to simplify the two-tier excise tax on private foundations by replacing it with a single rate of one percent.  The Council on Foundations has supported both of these provisions for many years.

Other provisions in H.R. 4719 would make permanent current “tax extender” provisions that enhance the deduction for contributing land conservation easements and food inventory.  The bill also includes expansion of the deadline for claiming charitable contributions from December 31 to April 15 of the following year. 

The Senate Finance Committee passed a tax extenders package in April which extends the charitable tax extenders for two years. Action by the full Senate is not anticipated this summer, and could be delayed until the lame duck session following the November mid-term elections.

Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill released the following statement after Thursday’s vote:

The Council on Foundations commends the United States House of Representatives for their bipartisan commitment to strengthening the philanthropic sector. The “America Gives More Act of 2014” will encourage charitable giving and improve foundations’ ability to serve communities across the country.This bill strengthens our national culture of giving by making permanent several policies that have proven successful in increasing community investment.

The philanthropic community is especially pleased to see a permanent IRA charitable rollover, which will give individual donors certainty when planning their charitable gifts and will result in more available money for charitable causes.

Our private foundation members are also delighted that Congress is pushing forward simplification of the counterproductive two-tier excise tax on private foundations by replacing it with a single rate of one percent. That measure will lift an administrative burden that creates a perverse incentive for private foundations to give less, not more, in times of need.  For over a decade, the Council has seen this simplification as an important tool for community investment, so we view today’s action by the House as a welcome development.

This bill will have a real and positive impact on communities across the country served by the philanthropic sector. The Council thanks Congressmen Schock and Paulsen, as well as Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp, for their continued leadership on these issues.  We strongly encourage House and Senate leadership to work together on bipartisan legislation to ensure that these charitable provisions become law.

House Ways and Means Chairman David Camp (R-MI-4) made a strong floor statement in favor of the bill. “The goodwill of the American people is unmatched, and we should do everything we can to encourage Americans to give more, enabling charities, nonprofits, foundations and schools across the country to expand their reach and serve those most in need,” he emphasized.

Other Members of Congress also spoke highly of the sector in their floor remarks. Congressman Sander Levin (D-MI-12) acknowledged that “All of us support the good work of the public charities.

Congressmen Tom Reed (R-NY-23) said, “This bill is a common sense bill that is the right thing to do for America.”