For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 11, 2002
Fact Sheet: President Calls for Action by Memorial Day to Help America's Charities
President Calls for Action by Memorial Day to Help America's Charities
Today's Presidential Action
President Bush called on the Senate to pass the CARE Act -
bipartisan legislation that reflects key parts of his Armies of
Compassion agenda to strengthen America's charitable groups - and for
Congress to send him a final bill to sign by Memorial Day. The
President was joined by representatives from local and national
charitable and faith-based groups - many of which are struggling to
cope with recent declines in giving and increases in demand for the
services they provide.
As millions of Americans prepare to file their tax returns,
the President noted that the legislation will help an estimated 84
million taxpayers to receive a deduction for charitable giving -
providing billions of dollars of support for charitable groups in
Background On The President's Armies Of Compassion Agenda
Last year, the President announced his initiative to
strengthen faith- and community-based charitable organizations in
America. Legislation reflecting key elements of the President's
initiative -- H.R. 7, the Community Solutions Act, sponsored by
Congressmen J.C. Watts (R-OK) and Tony Hall (D-OH) -- passed the House
in July by a vote of 233-189.
In August, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives released the Unlevel Playing Field report. The report was
the first comprehensive audit of five Federal agencies and their
policies towards community and faith based organizations. The report
showed the barriers these groups face in the Federal funding process,
such as unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and discriminatory practices
at the agency level.
The CARE Act (Charity Aid, Recovery, and Empowerment) builds
on the good work of the House bill in meeting the key principles of the
Armies of Compassion initiative. And, the legislation also includes
provisions that help address the specific barriers identified in the
Unlevel Playing Field report.
The Senate legislation meets the President's Armies of
Compassion principles in three key ways:
(1) Encouraging charitable giving through tax incentives:
- Allows an estimated 84 million taxpayers who do not itemize to deduct
their charitable contributions - providing a $400 (individual)/$800
(joint filers) deduction for charitable giving;
- Allows individuals
to make tax-free distributions from their IRAs to charities after the
age of 67; and
- Provides enhanced deductions for farmers and
restaurants to donate food to food banks.
(2) Addressing principal barriers that faith- and community-based
charities face in accessing Federal funds that were identified in the
Administration's Unlevel Playing Field report:
non-discrimination against non-governmental organizations based on
religious grounds, religious iconography, governance, and lack of
experience with government contracts;
- Creates a 501(c)3 'EZ Pass'
process to help small, community-based groups get tax-deductible status
more easily; and
- Establishes a $150 million Compassion Capital
Fund to educate and empower community-based organizations.
(3) Providing needed support for initiatives targeted to vulnerable
- Authorizes up to $33 million in support for
maternity group homes, principally for teenage unwed mothers.
- Authorizes an additional $275 million in FY03 for the Social Service
Block Grant (SSBG) that supports efforts such as Meals on Wheels.