By Hillary Evans, Vice President of Professional Learning & Public Policy, Philanthropy Southwest
Public Policy Roundup 2.08.22 (February Issue)
House Companion Bill Introduced of the Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act
On February 3, Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Tom Reed (R-NY) introduced the House version of the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act with Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Katie Porter (D-CA). This legislation mirrors the Senate bill that Senators Grassley and King introduced last June. In a press release issued last week, co-sponsors said the purpose of this bill is to “ensure funds donated to donor-advised-funds (DAFs) are made available to working charities within a reasonable period of time and provide incentives to speed up donation timelines.”
This legislation has generated lots of discussion among the charitable sector and has raised concerns from both community and private foundations that the bill’s provisions, if passed, could lead to a decline in charitable giving. At the end of last year, Philanthropy Southwest submitted a letter to Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) on behalf of select community foundations in West Texas, urging the Congressman to hold-off on introducing a House ACE ACT companion bill and noting issues about the legislation having a negative impact on charitable giving particularly in rural communities. PSW Board Director and Abilene Community Foundation CEO Katie Alford specifically addressed how the bill could jeopardize the use of complex assets that community foundations receive in rural areas to fund DAFs, such as farmland or ranchland that are still operating and produce income for grantmaking. Hearing constituent concerns, efforts were thwarted to introduce the House bill late last year.
Philanthropy Southwest has been part of a national Philanthropic Reforms Working Group considering reforms that have a broad input from the charitable sector and are supported by data and research. The PSW Public Policy Committee is providing their review and feedback to draft considerations in addition to other regional and national philanthropy support organizations soliciting their respective public policy committees.
Relatedly, the Council on Foundations, who came out very early on in opposition to the Senate version of the ACE Act, recently released their six recommendations and nine principles regarding the effective and transparent use of donor-advised funds. These recommendations came from the Council’s Strengthening Community Philanthropy Ad Hoc Working Group, which included 11 Community Foundation CEOs from across the country. Organizations in support of the legislation, such as California Association of Nonprofits, released their Principles for the Reform of Policies Governing Philanthropy.
With Rep. Reed retiring this year, it is uncertain how much traction this legislation could receive in the coming weeks and months. More education and feedback from the charitable sector will be needed to ensure that whatever reforms may result there is a wide spectrum of sector voices at the table.
Congress likely to Pass another Stopgap Funding Bill to Fund the Federal Government
The House approved a government stopgap bill that would extend funding the federal government through March 11th. This extension will allow appropriators to continue negotiating spending levels for the 2022 Omnibus Bill. The government is currently operating on a continuing resolution that expires on February 18th.
President Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget will likely be delayed until March. The President is scheduled to make his State of the Union Address on March 1st, and his budget should follow shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, the Office of Management Budget (OMB) is in the process of confirming its permanent Director Shalanda D. Young, who would become OMB’s first African American woman to head the White House budget office.