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September 22, 2014  

 
Government Relations Action Alert

Support the Inclusion of SSBG Funds in the Charitable Giving Act, H.R. 7!

May 12, 2003

THE ISSUE AT HAND

Representatives Blunt (R-MO) and Ford (D-TN) introduced the Charitable Giving Act (H.R. 7) on Thursday, May 8, 2003.  This bill is very similar to S. 476, the Senate’s version of President Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative bill, which the Senate passed in early April.  While NASW has raised concerns in the past about certain aspects of the faith-based initiative, the association does support the bills’ exclusion of language that would protect faith-based organizations receiving federal funds from anti-discrimination hiring laws. 

In addition, NASW is supportive of the Senate bill’s inclusion of $1.375 billion in new funds for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG).  However, because President Bush was against the Senate-included increase in S. 4476, the House bill does not include this critical funding. 

There is still an opportunity for SSBG to be included!  For this to happen, Representatives on the Ways and Means Committee who have championed SSBG in the past must convince Committee Chairman Thomas to include it in the Chairman’s Mark, the version of H.R. 7 the Committee will consider and vote on.  While all members of the Ways and Means Committee should be contacted, it is especially important to contact the SSBG champions:  Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT), Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN), and Rep. Phil English (R-PA). 

ACTION NEEDED

Call or e-mail the Representatives listed below and tell them that, as a constituent and member of NASW, you are requesting they ask Chairman Thomas to include SSBG restoration in his mark of H.R. 7, the Charitable Giving Act. 

*Rep. Nancy Johnson (202) 225-4476 www.house.gov/nancyjohnson

*Rep. Dave Camp  (202) 225-3561 www.house.gov/camp

*Rep. Jim Ramstad (202) 225-2871 www.house.gov/ramstad

*Rep. Phil English (202) 225-5406 www.house.gov/english

To find the telephone numbers for the Representatives listed below, please refer to www.house.gov or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121 and they will connect you. 

Republicans

Chairman Thomas (R-CA), Rep. Crane (R-IL), Rep. Shaw (R-FL), Rep. Houghton (R-NY), Rep. Herger (R-CA), Rep. McCrery (R-LA), Rep. Nussle (R-IA), Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Rep. Dunn (R-WA), Rep. Collins (R-GA), Rep. Portman (R-OH), Rep. Hayworth (R-AZ), Rep. Weller (R-IL), Rep. Hulshof (R-MO), Rep. McInnis (R-CO), Rep. Ron Lewis (R-KY), Rep. Foley (R-FL), Rep. Brady (R-TX), Rep. Ryan (R-WI), Rep. Cantor (R-VA)

Democrats

Rep. Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Stark (R-CA), Rep. Matsui (R-CA), Rep. Levin (R-MI), Rep. Cardin (R-MD), Rep. McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Kleczka (D-WI), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Neal (D-MA), Rep. McNulty (D-NY), Rep. Jefferson (D-LA), Rep. Tanner (D-TN), Rep. Becerra (D-CA), Rep. Doggett (D-TX), Rep. Pomeroy (D-ND), Rep. Sandlin (D-TX), Rep. Tubbs Jones (D-OH)

If you make a phone call, please let NASW know at abradford@naswdc.org

BACKGROUND

The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is a flexible block grant addressing the needs of children and families, the elderly, and vulnerable adults.  It enables them to avoid more expensive government assistance by helping them in their efforts to remain in the community in the most independent setting possible. As part of the welfare system’s last reform, Congress and the State Governors agreed to reduce SSBG funding to $2.38 billion for five years, and to return it to its former level of $2.8 billion in 2003.  Unfortunately, the funding level was reduced in 1998 and is currently $1.7 billion per year.  The cut in SSBG funding has driven social-services providers to discontinue services to children, families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.  It has also forced them to lay off staff and reduce benefits for vulnerable families. 

Main Provisions of H.R. 7:

  • Charitable Deduction for Non-Itemizers: This appears to be the same as the Senate CARE Act, which allows those who do not itemize on their tax returns to claim a contribution for charitable donations between a floor of $250 and a ceiling of $500.
  • Charitable IRA Distributions: This provision allows tax-free distributions from IRAs for both direct and split-interest gifts for individuals 70 ½ years or older.  (The Senate bill allowed a lower age limit for deferred gifts.)
  • Individual Development Accounts: Authorizes $25 million per year for five years¾less than the amount stipulated in the Senate CARE Act
  • Compassion Capital Fund: Identical to the Senate provision, which provides $150 million per year to assist small community- and faith-based organizations with technical assistance, expanding their capacity to serve

For more detailed background information on the Senate-passed CARE Act, please refer to NASW’s update: https://www.socialworkers.org/advocacy/issues/faith.asp

You may also contact Ann Bradford, senior government relations associate at 202-336-8237 or abradford@naswdc.org

 

 
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