Background: Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) reintroduced the bipartisan Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act (S. 272) on January 30, 2003. Portions of the bill were voted on favorably by the Senate Finance Committee on February 5, and the bill could come to the floor for a vote as early as the week of March 3. We continue to support Senate passage of the CARE Act, which will provide crucial resources to the faith-based and secular charities that serve our needy brothers and sisters, through provisions that include:
- Tax-code changes to allow non-itemizers to take a tax deduction for a portion of their charitable contributions (a proposal long supported by the Conference);
- Funding for a Compassion Capital fund to provide technical assistance to small charities; and,
- Significant additional resources for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program and the Second Chance/Maternity Group Homes to enable religious and secular charities to provide needed social services.
- Urge your Senators to support and cosponsor the CARE Act, especially those who were cosponsors last year but have not yet signed on to S. 272: Bennett (UT), Bond, (MO), Clinton (NY), Crapo (ID), Hagel (NE), Hutchison, K (TX), Johnson (SD), Torricelli (NJ), Warner (VA).
Message: The CARE Act will provide crucial assistance to charities (which are experiencing serious declines in contributions) and the people they serve, through increased opportunities for technical assistance (Compassion Capital fund), incentives for charitable giving (several provisions, including the non-itemizer deduction) and new direct assistance to religious and secular charities that serve the poor and needy (Social Services Block Grant, maternity group homes).
- If your Senator is already a cosponsor, thank him or her, and ask that they support a "cloture motion" to limit debate if necessary when the bill comes to the Senate floor: CARE Act cosponsors: Allard (CO), Bayh (IN), Brownback (KS), Bunning (KY), Cochran (MS), DeWine (OH), Domenici (NM), Frist (TN), Grassley (IA), Hatch (UT), Landrieu (LA), Lieberman (CT), Lugar (IN), Miller (GA), Nelson (FL), Santorum (PA), Sessions (AL), Smith (OR), Talent (MO).
- On Wednesday, March 5, there will be a CARE Act rally on Capitol Hill, and CARE Act supporters in the rest of the country are asked to make a special effort to call-in to their Senators' Washington offices that day. (Call 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator's office.)
For more information, contact Kathy Curran at 202-541-3188, firstname.lastname@example.org.