Alliance and Leadership 18 Coalition Applaud New Legislation Aimed at Halting Decline in Number of Americans who Give to Charity

New legislation introduced by Congressman Danny Davis (D-Ill.) could reverse a decade-long decline in the number of Americans giving to charity. The Davis bill, H.R. 1260, would relieve all taxpayers, regardless of income level, from paying taxes on money they donate to charity. On behalf of Leadership 18, a coalition of CEOs from the largest and most respected nonprofit organizations in America, Alliance President and CEO Susan Dreyfus applauded Congressman Davis for introducing this legislation.

“This may be the single most important piece of legislation that touches all charities’ ability to raise private donations,” Dreyfus noted. “As a senior and highly-respected member of the Ways and Means Committee, Davis has taken his longstanding support for charities to a new level. Leadership 18, which includes some of the nation’s largest nonprofits, are heartened at his support and remain committed to helping Mr. Davis enact H.R. 1260.” Dreyfus continued, “We have been fortunate to have bipartisan support for this issue, including bills introduced in the last Congress by members of Congress Mark Walker (R-N.C.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas). We will continue our bipartisan efforts in support of this critical policy.”

Collectively, the members of Leadership 18 serve 87 million people with more than 5.6 million staff and volunteers. All of our member organizations share a specific mission to improve human development through deep community relationships. Leadership 18 members include the following: Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Catholic Charities USA, City Year, Feeding America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Goodwill Industries International, Inc., Habitat for Humanity, The Jewish Federations of North America, Lutheran Services in America, Mental Health America, National Council on Aging, The Salvation Army, United Way Worldwide, Volunteers of America, YMCA of the USA, and YWCA USA.

Read the full release online.

What Is the Green New Deal Proposal?

The Green New Deal has been a hot topic politics the past month. The proposal is sponsored by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.). The name alludes to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, which established economic reform and created a social safety net system during the Great Depression. The Green New Deal uses Roosevelt's economic approach to combat climate change and improves overall well-being. The resolution would remake the U.S economy with the hope of eliminating all U.S carbon emissions in 10 years.

10 Main Objectives of the Green New Deal

  1. Meet 100 percent of U.S power demands through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources; this would mean no longer using natural fuels, such as coal and gas and transitioning away from nuclear energy sources
  2. Upgrade all existing buildings so that they are energy efficient
  3. Expand electric car manufacturing and make charging stations easily accessible
  4. Expand high-speed rails, with the hope of making airplanes unnecessary
  5. Work with farmers to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
  6. Guaranteed jobs for everyone with family-sustaining wages, family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security guaranteed
  7. High-quality health care for everyone
  8. Labor laws that support workplace health and safety, anti-discrimination, and wages across all employers and industries
  9. Provide high-quality education, including college to everyone
  10. Provide high quality, affordable health care, housing, economic security, clean water, air, and healthy food to everyone

Opinions on the Green New Deal have varied both between and within political parties. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has referred to the Green New Deal as the “green dream” and an “enthusiastic” piece of legislation. Michael Bloomberg also commented on the resolution and said that the Green New Deal should offer realistic solutions and not “pie in the sky”. It is important to know that the Green New Deal is a nonbinding resolution. This means that even if it were to pass as a law, it would not itself create any new government programs.

Several 2020 presidential candidates including Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg have supported the deal as part of their campaign promise. Republicans have, across the board, expressed concerns that the Green New Deal fails to provide a realistic approach to climate change and, in return, would end up significantly hurting the economy by increasing taxes for everyone. It has also been argued that even if the U.S. were to significantly reduce fossil fuels, climate change would still continue to be an issue since other countries propose a greater threat to the environment. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) intends to put the resolution up for a vote soon, saying, “We’re going to be voting on that in the Senate. We’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal.”

View more information online.

Infrastructure Proposals

Funding for U.S. infrastructure is a top legislative priority for 2019. Overall, Republicans and Democrats agree that investing in infrastructure is important but believe in different routes to securing the necessary federal funding. Expanding the budget would provide funding to improve roads, bridges, pipelines, energy grids, renewable energy sources, and rural broadband. Some proposed funding solutions have suggested increasing the gas tax or private investments, but nothing has been agreed on at this point.

The Trump administration has a plan to generate $1.5 trillion in public and private investments in the next decade to pay for infrastructure improvements. Increasing job opportunities and improving schools is another important component of an infrastructure bill. The president’s plan would reform federal education and workforce programs by expanding the Pell Grant and enhancing technical colleges. Representatives feel confident that they will be able to deliver a comprehensive infrastructure package later this summer, though significant questions remain as to the process and which priorities would be included.

National Academy of Sciences Child Poverty Report to be Released Next Week

The long-awaited release of the NAS consensus study report, A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, will be taking place this coming week. The report will go live Feb. 28 during a public release event at 11 a.m. ET in Washington, DC. This report examines the evidence-based programs and policies that reduce the number of children living in poverty and identifies packages of policies and programs that could reduce child poverty in the U.S. by half within 10 years, at a cost far lower than the costs the country bears from child poverty.

Source: First Focus and Children’s Budget Coalition

Paid Family Leave

Government mandated paid family leave is a policy issue that both political parties want to see happen this year. White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump has been working with Congress members on ways to push the issue forward. The U.S is currently the only industrialized country that does not have a federal paid family leave system in place. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation last week that would give both parents 12-weeks of paid family leave.

Source: The Hill

50 Health Care Organizations Asking for Alignment of Substance Abuse Privacy Protections

An industry coalition made up of health care organizations including Blue Cross Blue Shield, the American Hospital Association, and the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, are pushing Congress to loosen restrictions that impede coordinated care. They believe certain restrictions make it difficult for physicians to access patient substance abuse treatment records. They released their recommendations at a briefing Feb. 19. They are specifically concerned about some Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) restrictions that require patients to sign off multiple times before their records can be shared with their doctors. According to Bloomberg Government, the House and Senate are expected to reintroduce legislation to align the substance abuse privacy standards with those in the health privacy law. Alignment would make it easier for doctors to access substance abuse records.

Source: Bloomberg Government

HHS Proposes New Rules to Improve Interoperability of Health Information

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed new rules to support seamless and secure access, exchange, and use of electronic health information. These new rules were designed to, “increase innovation and competition by giving patients and their health care providers secure access to health information and new tools, allowing for more choice in care and treatment. It calls on the health care industry to adopt standardized application programming interfaces, which will help allow individuals to securely and easily access structured electronic health information smartphone applications.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a fact sheet that details the proposed rule.

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, HHS

Find your Governors State of the State Speech

If you are interested in reading and searching through your governor’s state of the state speech, use this helpful tool to find speeches by state. There are 20 new governors who gave their state of the state or inaugural address.

Source: Goodwill International

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