Washington, D.C.—Today, at a U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) hearing on charitable giving, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), the Vice Chair of the JEC, pushed for policies that would help nonprofits that have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisisa time when Americans need them most.

“I volunteered at a food bank in my district recently—for as long as I was there you could not see the end of the line—and they told me that one of their biggest challenges is that they are no longer getting the extra food from restaurants because restaurants are closed so they are having to turn to their state and local governments for funding,” Congressman Beyer said. “This is one of the many ways that the coronavirus crisis is hurting nonprofits.”

Before the coronavirus crisis, nonprofits had been hit hard by the 2017 Trump tax cuts, which reduced incentives for charitable giving by nearly doubling the standard deduction. This resulted in a substantial decrease in the number of households that itemize—from 26% to 10%—and are therefore eligible to claim the charitable giving deduction. In 2018, the first year Trump’s tax cuts were implemented, charitable giving by individuals declined by 3%.

“The 2017 Trump tax cuts badly hurt nonprofits by significantly reducing incentives for charitable giving. The coronavirus struck a second blow at those organizations, weakening many of them when the communities they serve are in greatest need,” Congressman Beyer said.

Congressman Beyer continued, “Although some in Congress do not feel a sense of urgency, I have been hearing from leaders of nonprofits big and small in my district who say that a sense of urgency is exactly what is needed. Congress must respond by giving them the support they need to survive by passing the HEROES Act, as well as other measures introduced by me and by my JEC Democratic colleague Senator Amy Klobuchar.”

Currently, nonprofits can benefit from the Employee Retention Tax Credit in the CARES Act. The HEROES Act would increase this tax credit from 50 percent to 80 percent of qualifying wages and lift the wage cap.

Congressman Beyer and Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) are sponsors of the Legacy IRA Act, bipartisan legislation that would incentivize charitable giving by expanding the IRA Charitable Rollover to allow senior citizens 65 and older to make tax-free IRA rollovers to charities while providing them with guaranteed income.

Senator Klobuchar, one of four Democratic senators on the JEC, is a sponsor of The WORK NOW Act, legislation that would provide grants to nonprofits to help them retain or hire new employees.

Read Congressman Beyer’s written opening statement here.

About Congressman Beyer

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Previously, Beyer served as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Ambassador to Switzerland and built a successful family business over the course of four decades.