Press Release

September 24, 2008
VOLUNTEERS CLOSER TO RELIEF FROM HIGH GAS PRICES AS CARDIN AND SNOWE JOIN WITH SCHUMER AND ENSIGN TO REINTRODUCE BILL TO ALLOW CHANGES TO CHARITABLE MILEAGE DEDUCTION RATE
Senate Allies Rally Around House Compromise Bill

 


WASHINGTON –

U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin
(D-MD) and

Olympia Snowe
(R-ME) joined forces with
Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and
John Ensign (R-NV), along with Senators
Russ Feingold (D-WI),
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and
Chuck Grassley (R-IA), to introduce updated legislation that would provide relief to volunteers who use their personal vehicle for charitable activities. Under current law, mileage rates for charitable activity are fixed under the Internal Revenue Code at just 14 cents per mile. However, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas has more than doubled in the last eight years and far outpaces the deduction limits.



 


The new bill introduced Monday, the

Giving Incentives to Volunteers Everywhere Act of 2008
(GIVE Act/S. 3532), would give the IRS discretion in setting the mileage deduction rate for volunteers and charitable organizations, which could be as high as (or higher than) the business mileage deduction but not lower than the deduction for moving and medical expenses. Currently, the IRS is able to increase the deduction amount for medical, moving and business expenses to reflect current economic conditions because the rate is not written into the law.



 


“This is a win-win for volunteers and the people who so
desperately need their help in the midst of our current economic crisis,” said
Senator Cardin. “I am proud to stand with so many leaders in the U.S. Senate who understand that Congress has a responsibility to act swiftly, so that the IRS can ease the burden on charitable volunteers who share their time and resources with some of our most vulnerable citizens.”




 


“As the cost of a barrel of oil jumped $19 dollars yesterday, it is critical that we work to keep high energy prices from deterring charitable acts and volunteerism,”
Senator Snowe said. “This bipartisan legislation will alleviate transportation costs for volunteers and bolster the charitable community in this economically turbulent time.”



 


“The size of the gas mileage deduction for charity workers is paltry and antiquated. Right now, charities are being punished because the law has not kept pace with the spike in gas costs. The bottom line is, 

delivering meals on wheels shouldn’t put you in the fast lane to the poor house. 
I have long urged this fix because it will allow charity workers to keep doing their important work despite the pain at the pump,"
Senator Schumer said.



 


“Too often our laws and regulations become outdated,” said
Senator Ensign. “This is yet another example, and the result is that current law discourages people from volunteering. The reimbursement rate for charitable deductions for mileage driven needs to keep pace with the cost of gasoline. Fortunately, a broad bipartisan group of Senators is pushing for this bill to become law so that the IRS can fix this technical glitch and volunteers can be justly compensated for the costs they incur driving seniors to the hospital or delivering food to those in need.”



 



Congressmen
John Lewis (D-GA) and
Jim Ramstad (R-MN), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, introduced identical legislation, the

Fair Deal for Volunteers Act (H.R. 6854)
, earlier this month.




 



The

Cardin-Snowe-Schumer-Ensign-Mikulski-Grassley GIVE Act
is co-sponsored by a growing number of Senators, including: Cardin, Snowe, Schumer, Ensign, Mikulski, Grassley, Feingold, and




 



Evan Bayh (D-IN)


Joseph Biden (D-DE)


Barbara Boxer (D-CA)


Maria Cantwell (D-WA)


Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)


Chris Dodd (D-CT)


Tom Harkin (D-IA)


John Kerry (D-MA)


Patrick Leahy (D-VT)


Carl Levin (D-MI)


Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)


Patty Murray (D-WA)


Barack Obama (D-IL)


Bernie Sanders (I-VT)


Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)


Lamar Alexander (R-TN)


Richard Burr (R-NC)


Susan Collins (R-ME)


Mike Crapo (R-ID)


Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)


Gordon Smith (R-OR)


Olympia Snowe (R-ME)


John Sununu (R-NH)


John Warner (R-VA)



 


The following organizations have expressed their support for this legislation:



 






National Organizations






American Association of Homes & Services for the Aging




American Cancer Society Action Network




American Heart Association





            American Red Cross





American Society of Association of Executives




Catholic Charities USA




Easter Seals




Experience Wave




Feeding America (formerly known as America’s Second Harvest)




Fulbright Association




Habitat for Humanity International




Independent Sector




League of American Orchestras




Lutheran Services in America




Meals on Wheels Association of America




National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A)




National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs




National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare




National Council on Aging




National Multiple Sclerosis Society




National Seniors Corps Association




Points of Light Institute




United Jewish Communities




United Way of America




YMCA of the USA




 






State Organizations








           






Arizona Community Media Foundation




AZ




Gabriel's Angels, Inc.




AZ




Girls Scouts- Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Inc.




AZ




Hospice of the Valley




AZ




Youth on Their Own




AZ




Yuma Conservation Garden, Inc.




AZ




Golden
State
Donor Services




CA




Jewish Family Service of Colorado




CO




Greater Washington Partnership for Palliative & End-of-Life Care




DC