WASHINGTON (RNS) -- President Bush's plan to funnel federal money toreligious charities cleared its final hurdle in a House committee onWednesday but only after its provisions on charitable givingwere significantly scaled back. The House Ways and Means Committee approved the "Community SolutionsAct" on a party line vote of 23-16. Its companion legislation, whichallows religious charities to compete for government dollars, was passedby the House Judiciary Committee last month. The measure now heads for a vote by the full House and then to theSenate. The legislation, however, is far different from the original Bushplan. That plan would have allowed non-itemizing taxpayers to deductcharitable donations, potentially increasing giving by $15 billion. Under the bill approved Wednesday, the taxpayers would be able todeduct up to $25 in donations the first year and $100 -- or $200 percouple -- by 2010. The benefit to taxpayers would be about $4 per personat first, rising to $15 by 2010. The package is expected to cost $6.4billion, compared to the $84 billion of the Bush plan, according to theAssociated Press. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush was pleased with thevote, even though it fell short of his plan. "It's not everything heasked for, but it's much of what he asked for," he said. Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., who sponsored the legislation, said themeasure has "cleared every legislative hurdle thrown its way" andexpects the bill to pass the House by the end of the month.
Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus