Thanks for your action on the CARE Act!
Thanks to your calls and contacts to your Senators, the Senate Finance Committee approved key provisions of the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act on June 18, 2002, sending the bill forward for consideration by the full Senate. The CARE Act (S. 1924) is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Rick Santorum (R-PA).
Two of the CARE Act provisions that are a priority for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA were included in the Committee's bill:
- Tax-code changes to allow non-itemizers to take a tax deduction for a portion of their charitable contributions The deduction has both a floor and a ceiling. After contributing $250, individual donors may take a deduction for additional giving up to $500. Couples may take a deduction after contributing $500, for donations up to a total of $1,000.
- $1.3 billon in additional resources for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program -- The Committee approved increasing SSBG funding from the current level of $1.7 billion to $1.975 billion in 2003, and restoring it to $2.8 billion (the amount originally called for in the 1996 welfare reform law) in 2004.
NEXT STEPS: Stay tuned for future updates from SDWP on action needed as CARE Act action moves to the Senate floor.
USCCB POSITION: The USCCB supports President Bush"s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives proposal and legislation to advance its goals such as S. 1924 and H.R. 7, because we believe they will put new tools in the hands of those struggling daily to overcome the most difficult problems in our neighborhoods and communities: persistent poverty, violence, substance abuse, inadequate housing, and obstacles faced by those who are entering the job market. Faith-based groups should be allowed to participate in federally-funded programs to meet social needs on the same terms as other groups, without changing their fundamental nature or facing discrimination because of their religious identity. See Economic Justice For All, November, 1986; Moral Principles and Policy Priorities for Welfare Reform, March, 1995; and letters from USCCB, including joint letters with Catholic Chariites USA, most recently on June 5, 2002.
For more information on the CARE Act, contact Kathy Curran, 202-541-3188, firstname.lastname@example.org.