the Inclusion of SSBG Funds in the Charitable Giving Act,
May 12, 2003
THE ISSUE AT HAND
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.
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. 4
76, the House bill does not
include this critical funding. 4
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).
or e-mail the Representatives listed below and tell them
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.
Nancy Johnson (202) 225-4476 www.house.gov/nancyjohnson
Dave Camp (202) 225-3561 www.house.gov/camp
Jim Ramstad (202) 225-2871 www.house.gov/ramstad
Phil English (202) 225-5406 www.house.gov/english
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.
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
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
make a phone call, please let NASW know at email@example.com
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.
Provisions of H.R. 7:
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.
IRA Distributions: This provision allows tax-free
distributions from IRAs for both direct and split-interest
individuals 70 ½ years or older. (The Senate bill
allowed a lower age limit for deferred gifts.)
Development Accounts: Authorizes $25 million per year
for five years¾less
than the amount stipulated in the Senate CARE Act
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
more detailed background information on the Senate-passed
CARE Act, please refer to NASW’s update: https://www.socialworkers.org/advocacy/issues/faith.asp
may also contact Ann Bradford, senior government relations
associate at 202-336-8237 or firstname.lastname@example.org