WASHINGTON (AP) — The House passed a package of tax breaks Thursday designed to boost charitable donations by seniors, private foundations and procrastinators.
One provision provides tax breaks to people over 70 who make donations from their individual retirement accounts. Another reduces excise taxes on private charitable foundations.
Procrastinators would be able to claim tax deductions for donations made after the end of the year, as long as they were made by April 15. Other provisions provide tax breaks for landowners who donate land for conservation purposes, and businesses that donate food to food banks.
The White House threatened to veto the bill because it would add $16 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade. In a statement, the White House criticized House Republicans for supporting tax breaks that mainly benefit wealthier Americans while refusing to help low-income families by extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.
The vote was 277-130 to pass the bill. Fifty-six Democrats joined 221 Republicans to vote in favor of the bill.
"The good will of the American people is unmatched, and we should do everything we can to encourage Americans to give more, enabling charities, nonprofits, foundations and schools across the country to expand their reach and serve those most in need," said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Sue Santa of the Council on Foundations said the bill "could strengthen charitable giving and give certainty to both donors and to the foundations."
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to get caught up in a debate over how to deal with a package of temporary tax breaks that expired at the beginning of the year. More than 50 temporary tax breaks expired in January, including several provisions in the bill passed Thursday.
The Republican-led House has voted to make a handful of them permanent, leaving the fate of others uncertain.