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    Congressional Trick or Treat

    Heading into Halloween, there are some Congressional priorities that are picking up momentum and things are getting scary for a few programs that we care about. The government is currently funded through December 8th and Congress needs to decide how much funding to appropriate to twelve different agencies that oversee programs, including those that make up the workforce investment system, in order to avoid a government shutdown.  After Halloween, there are only 18 legislative days in which both the House and Senate are slated to be in session before that deadline hits.

    Prior to allocating funds, Congress has to approve a budget which basically creates a spending outline.  The House and Senate each passed their respective versions, but they were drastically different.  Typically leadership in both chambers would appoint legislators to a conference committee to work out the differences and then they would agree to newly compromised bill. However, in a creepy moment of camaraderie between the Chambers, the House GOP agreed to pass the Senate version and forego a conference.

    The Senate budget resolution allows tax legislation to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years without requiring any cuts to mandatory spending to programs like Medicare or Social Security. The House had voted earlier this month to adopt a budget that called for a slash of $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts over 10 years, including $20 billion in cuts to education and workforce programs.

    So is this a trick or a treat? Well, Congressional leaders have been very motivated to move quickly to tax legislation for fear of how it could impact next year’s mid-term elections.  Passing the Senate version quickly paves the way for the Senate to pass tax legislation with a simple majority and bypass a Democratic filibuster.

    Assuming the budget passes, the House will introduce their tax bill in short order.  Tax reform is monstrously complex and many details still need to be hashed out.  However the scariest component for local Goodwill® organizations and the nonprofit sector is in regard to the charitable giving deduction.  The leaders involved in writing the tax reform proposal would like to double the standard deduction which will result in a large number of taxpayers no being able to take a charitable giving deduction under current law.  Learn more why nonprofits fear this proposal and how you can contact your lawmakers by visiting our Legislative Action Center.

    Laura Walling
    Senior Director of Government Affairs
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