House Passes Kelly-Sponsored Legislation to Make Year-End Charitable Giving Easier

Jul 17, 2014 Issues: Tax Reform

Rep. Kelly: “America is the most big-hearted nation in the world”


WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives today in support of H.R. 4719, the America Gives More Act, which was passed by a bipartisan vote of 277-130. The legislation includes a package of five bipartisan charity-related bills reported out by the Ways and Means Committee, including the text of H.R. 3134, the Charitable Giving Extension Act, which Rep. Kelly introduced on September 19, 2013. The bill extends the yearly deadline for making deductible charitable contributions from December 31 to April 15 of the following year.

Highlights of Rep. Kelly’s floor remarks:

“According to the World Giving Index, America is the most big-hearted nation in the world. In the world! All this is, is an affirmation of who we are as Americans. Believe me, my friends, this charitable virtue we have is not a Republican issue, or a Democrat issue. This is who we basically are as Americans.”

“I want you to think about any time there is any time of a crisis or tragedy in the world. Who is the first responder? America — always America. It is just who we are. It is the very fabric of this nation and what has been given to us. We have been so blessed by God.”

“Now, this is not chest-thumping ‘I’m proud of America.’ This is a humble pride. It says, ‘I thank our Lord and God for putting us in a position where we can actually share that which we have.’ Too much has been given, much is required. I understand that, but please don’t turn this into a political argument when it comes to good policy. You know in the depths of your heart where the American people are. You know what they’ve done for year after year, in good times and in bad times … when we talk about policy that’s good not just for every single American, but for every person they help.”

“I came here for one reason, and that was to serve the people from Pennsylvania’s Third District that sent me – both Republicans and Democrats, some that vote and some that don’t vote – and to serve the needs of the American people. Have we gone so far from those goals that we decide to make everything political?”

“I would hate to be in the position where I tell every American, ‘You know what? We know how to spend the money better than you. We’ll make the decisions of how it gets doled out. In your heart of hearts, when you want to give to a charitable organization, forget it—we’ll make that decision. Send the money to Washington, because we’ve done such a wonderful job with it.”

“No, my friends. That’s not America, that’s not who we are, that’s not who we’ll ever be. That’s not the fabric of this great nation. So I ask you to look past your political ambitions, and beating each other up, and look at what’s good policy for every single American.”

Statement by Lisa Scales, Chief Executive Officer of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank: “This bill provides valuable incentives for businesses, retailers, restaurants and farmers to make donations of wholesome food to Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Passage of this bill is needed to maximize food donation opportunities at a time of great need throughout Western Pennsylvania.”

NOTE: The America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719) is supported by more than 800 charitable organizations throughout the United States. A full state-by-state list of these organizations can be viewed here.

A joint statement from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Feeding America, Independent Sector, Land Trust Alliance, and YMCA of the USA in support H.R. 4719 can be viewed here.

According to Independent Sector, Pennsylvania is home to more than 68,500 non-profit organizations which employ 727,200 people (almost 13.3% of the state’s workforce); generate $96.8 billion in annual revenues; and hold assets of $208 billion. Pennsylvania foundations give $1.3 billion annually.