Land Trust Alliance Deeply Disappointed by Failure of Supporting America’s Charities Act

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U.S. House of Representatives Vote Fell Short of Procedural Requirement

Land Trust Alliance logo

Land Trust Alliance logo

The good news is a majority of House members demonstrated today that they share our firm belief that land conservation is good for America and Americans.

The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, today expressed its deep disappointment following the U.S. House of Representatives’ failure to pass the Supporting America’s Charities Act. The act fell short of the two-thirds support it needed from voting members to meet a procedural requirement; the final vote was 275-149, reflecting 65% support.

“We’re extremely disappointed and saddened that this bipartisan legislation, which would have helped every community across America meet urgent needs now, fell short in the House,” said Rand Wentworth, the Alliance’s president. “The good news is a majority of House members demonstrated today that they share our firm belief that land conservation is good for America and Americans.”

The Supporting America’s Charities Act would have made permanent the incentive for donations of conservation easements. It also would have fed Americans who are hungry and empowered older Americans who want to give back to their communities.

In the weeks and days leading up to today’s vote, the Alliance worked in earnest with the Council on Foundations, Feeding America, Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, Independent Sector, The Jewish Federations of North America, National Council of Nonprofits, United Way Worldwide and others to secure support for the Supporting America’s Charities Act.

“Regardless of the outcome of today’s vote, we are immensely thankful to everyone in Congress and across our nation who worked with us to support passage of the Supporting America’s Charities Act,” Wentworth said. “The unity we demonstrated helped raise awareness of the many needs America faces and demonstrated how diverse organizations can speak strongly with one voice. The Alliance looks forward to exploring the opportunities we’ll have again with our many allies to conserve land and help communities meet urgent needs.”

Drafted by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), who is retiring from Congress, the Supporting America’s Charities Act does not carry forward into 2015 and would have to be reintroduced. It wasn’t immediately clear whether similar legislation would be introduced in 2015.

A separate federal bill to retroactively apply the incentive for donations of conservation easements to all of 2014 is pending in the Senate after passing the House earlier. If signed into law, that incentive would expire on Dec. 31, 2014.

About the Land Trust Alliance

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,200 member land trusts supported by more than 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at http://www.landtrustalliance.org.

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Joshua Lynsen