Congress returns to work this week and unfortunately likely back to their partisan corners following a pause to celebrate and honor the life of President George H. W. Bush. Before we dive into the issues that remain before the closing of the 115th Congress, Goodwill Industries International would like to take moment and honor the legacy of President Bush. Greg Albin, the 1983 Graduate of the Year had the honor of meeting then Vice President Bush, a great advocate of individuals with disabilities. Several years later, Goodwill was represented at the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Finally the Points of Light Foundation created in response to a call to action to encourage the spirit of service, included Reverend Edgar Helms the founder of Goodwill Industries as part of The Extra Mile (the Points of Light Monument) in Washington, DC.
Many of President Bush’s friends and family in addition to the pundits have discussed civility and ability to put partisanship and party aside in the best interest of the country, and an era when politicians were able to work together (at least more so than they do now). I hope that we can keep these traits in mind as the new Congress convenes and for the work that needs to continue over the next few weeks.
Among those items of interest to local Goodwill organizations and the people they serve include:
- The federal Fiscal Year 2019 budget – while programs in the Departments of Labor and Education are among those where funding has passed, Congress needs to continue to pass funding for several other areas in order to avoid a government shutdown on December 21st. We are also concerned that a funding bill may include language that would weaken enforcement of the requirement for charitable nonprofits to remain nonpartisan.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – Many local Goodwill organizations are involved in SNAP employment and training programs. SNAP is part of the FARM bill pending in Congress. The House and Senate have reached a compromise on a bill which needs to pass before Congress adjourns.
- Tax Policy – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could have negative implications for nonprofits. Before adjourning, Congress is considering language to make some fixes to the tax bill, including a repeal of an Unrelated Business Income Tax on nonprofits (UBIT). Click here for more information and to take action.
Goodwill stands ready to work with Congress on these remaining issues and to help build bridges between lawmakers in the 116th Congress so we can find solutions together that solve the problems facing our communities.