Senators press for direct help to charitable nonprofits as they respond to fallout from the coronavirus
Senators Coons, Lankford, King, colleagues back expanded charitable giving deduction in coronavirus aid bill
WILMINGTON, Del. — Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) joined Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Angus King (I-Maine) on a bipartisan letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to advocate that they do not overlook nonprofits, charities, and houses of worship in the fourth-phase relief proposal for the coronavirus pandemic. The letter asks the leaders to consider expanding access to relief and support, increase unemployment insurance reimbursement for nonprofit employees, and strengthen charitable giving incentives to help ease the burdens facing nonprofit employers as well as other types of small businesses.
During the previous Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act discussion, Senators Coons and Lankford offered an amendment, which would have increased the bill’s $300 limit on the charitable giving deduction to one-third of the standard deduction ($4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers) for the 2020 tax year—a move supported by more than 1,000 nonprofits across the nation. While the CARES Act also provided some nonprofits access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), there are additional steps the Senate can take to ensure these critical entities are able to continue to serve where government cannot.
“In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, charities and nonprofits are facing extraordinary challenges. These organizations are being relied on to address needs in our communities like hunger, illness, and child care, with dwindling resources and a payroll to maintain,” said Senator Coons of his amendment with Senator Lankford. “A federal response I am proud to support is ensuring that every American taxpayer is encouraged to support our nation’s charities, by giving them access to the charitable deduction. This simple, straightforward change to the tax code would mobilize the goodwill of all Americans as we collectively strive to overcome this pandemic.”
In addition to Coons, Lankford and King, the letter was joined by Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).
The following nonprofits and charities have offered their support for the senators’ letter: Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, American Alliance of Museums, American Council on Education, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Red Cross, Americans for the Arts, Apartment Life, Inc., Arthritis Foundation, Association of Art Museum Directors, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Catholic Charities USA, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Child Welfare League of America, Community Action Partnership, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Covenant House International, Ducks Unlimited, Extended Day Child Care Center, Inc., Faith & Giving Coalition, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Goodwill Industries International, Inc., Habitat for Humanity International, Independent Sector, Jewish Federations of North America, Land Trust Alliance, Leadership 18, League of American Orchestras, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Looking Glass Community Services, Lutheran Services in America, Mental Health America, National Alliance for Caregiving, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, National Council of Nonprofits, National Health Council, National Human Services Assembly, NatureBridge, San Diego Zoo Global, Solve ME/CFS Initiative, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Squash and Education Alliance, The Arc of the United States, The Nonprofit Trust, The Trevor Project, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, United Cerebral Palsy- National, United Philanthropy Forum, United Way Worldwide, Volunteers of America, Welcoming America, World Wildlife Fund, YMCA of the USA, Youth Advocate Program, YWCA USA, and Boys and Girls Club of America.
The full text of the letter can be found here or below.
Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:
Charitable nonprofits are significant employers ready to serve. The 12 million people working for America’s charities are the backbone of our communities: the food banks, shelters, domestic violence services, houses of worship, early care and education centers, after-school facilities, and more that are being called on to feed, house and care for people whose lives have been disrupted by sickness, closures, and job loss. Cities and states are relying on nonprofits to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic. We will continue to rely on the experience, expertise and ingenuity of the sector during future recovery efforts. As we work to build on the CARES Act in the next relief package, we cannot overlook the needs of these community-based institutions and must ensure that charitable nonprofits are fully supported in their service on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
Specifically, we urge you to include the following clarifications and provisions in the next relief package:
On behalf of the nonprofit charities in each of our districts providing critical services to our constituents, we appreciate your attention to this request and believe that the inclusion of these provisions will directly help charitable nonprofits respond to the fallout from this pandemic and will continue to serve our communities in the aftermath. We appreciate your consideration and attention to this request.