July 19, 2001
Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 7, which contains
key elements of the President's agenda to expand charitable giving,
to strengthen faith-based and other neighborhood-serving groups, and
to help them better serve Americans in need.
H.R. 7 would stimulate more charitable giving through a number of tax incentives, including a provision allowing non-itemizers a deduction for their charitable donations and another provision permitting charitable contributions from IRAs without penalty. These and other incentives are consistent with the President's objective to promote charitable giving across the Nation and to provide relief to taxpayers making contributions to charitable programs. The Administration will work with Congress to make these incentives as robust as possible.
H.R. 7 would also support faith-based and community organizations in their vital efforts to help needy Americans by extending existing charitable choice principles of neutrality, evenhandedness, and nondiscrimination to additional programs, and letting civic-minded religious charities partner with the Government to deliver Government-funded social services through those programs. Such programs provide needed services in such areas as crime prevention, drug prevention, hunger relief, domestic violence, and assistance to the elderly. The bill would reinforce and build on the Government's commitment to support effective community-serving groups, both sacred and secular, that are achieving strong civic purposes -- groups that are striving to tackle, and conquer, many of our Nation's seemingly most intractable social problems. In addition, the bill would authorize the Department of Justice to provide much needed training and technical assistance funds to equip small community-serving groups with skill-building support to help ensure that they are as effective as possible. The Administration commends the House on this legislation that strikes a careful balance: widening options for beneficiaries while also protecting their religious liberties and civil rights as well as the religious character of the service providers.
The Administration applauds the Congress' support for IDAs and commitment to the concept. The Administration had proposed an expansion through a different mechanism in its budget. The Administration will continue to work to achieve meaningful expansion of the government's commitment to IDAs. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress through the legislative process to achieve a result that best embodies the objectives of the President's plan.
Any law that would reduce receipts is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirements of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. Accordingly, H.R. 7, or any substitute amendment in lieu thereof that would also reduce revenues, will be subject to the pay-as-you-go requirement. The Administration will work with Congress to ensure that any unintended sequester of spending does not occur under current law or the enactment of any other proposals that meet the President's objectives to reduce the debt, fund priority initiatives, and grant tax relief to all income tax paying Americans.