By Hillary Evans, Vice President of Professional Learning & Public Policy, Philanthropy Southwest
Public Policy Roundup - August Recess Edition
Senate Passes Sweeping Climate Change, Health Care & Tax Package
Before officially breaking for the month-long August recess, the Senate Democrats passed on August 7th a major climate, health care and tax bill, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022. This $740 billion bill package passed along party-lines, 51-50, through the budget reconciliation process with Vice President Harris casting the deciding vote.
The bill tackles climate change by investing $300 billion in climate and energy reform, reduces the high costs of prescription health care, and lowers the budget deficit. While the bill is funded by corporate tax increases and cost savings, there does not appear to be any tax increases impacting the charitable sector or new regulation of nonprofit organizations, including donor-advised funds.
The House is expected to return and vote on this bill later this week and then head to President Biden for his signature.
Read more here about what’s in this massive 755-page bill package, and view here the Senate Democrat’s one-page summary.
Senate ACE Act Gains a New Co-Sponsor
On July 28th, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) signed on as a cosponsor to the Senate version of the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act. Sen. Whitehouse’s endorsement is not surprising as he has been a fervent critic of donor-advised funds as vehicles to launder money for big donors. However, this additional cosponsor could signal more traction among moderate congressional members and make the legislation partisan. The orginal cosponsors of the Senate ACE Act version included Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Reed (R-NY). With Sen. Reed's resignation earlier this spring, this bill still only has two cosponsors.
Relatedly, the Institute of Policy Studies released their Gilded Giving 2022 Report last month. The report posits that philanthropy is becoming increasingly top-heavy and that donations are sitting idle instead of being donated to public operating charities. The report calls for greater regulation and oversight. The National Taxpayers Foundation Union criticized the report as misreading data and based on unsound methodologies.
PSW will continue to monitor efforts closely as Congress returns in September to focus on year-end legislation.
Join us for a September Washington, DC Fly-In
Members of the PSW Public Policy Committee will be in Washington, DC September 6-8, 2022. This fly-in will present an opportunity to meet with congressional members on pending legislation relevant to the charitable sector and strategize on policy priorities in the coming year. There is no cost to attend, but meals, flight and hotel arrangements are on your own. If you are interested in participating, please email Hillary Evans, VP of Professional Learning and Public Policy, email@example.com
If you’re not able to join us in DC this September, we encourage you to reach out to your respective House or Senate congressional members in your District, and share your story about the important work that your foundation is doing in your community. Here’s an August Recess Guide produced by United Philanthropy Forum. You may also check out the following recording available here on District Engagement 101: Why Telling Your Story at Home is the Key to Advocacy Success hosted by Integer, a bipartisan advocacy firm. Sara Barba, VP at Integer, moderated this virtual program on June 30th which featured foundation leaders, Katie Alford, President & CEO of Community Foundation of Abilene and Seyron Foo, Senior Program Officer at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation along with Joel Larsen, State Advocacy Director at YMCA of the USA.