This week, Congress has been debating the final details of a Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus spending bill, which would fund the government until September 30. As of Monday, policymakers still were debating whether to include a provision that would significantly weaken the Johnson Amendment, a 60-year old law that protects charities from partisan political pressure. If passed, the policy changes threaten the charitable deduction, donor privacy, and the public’s trust in the nonprofit sector.
Yesterday, Congressional leaders released legislative text of the spending bill. A Johnson Amendment repeal was not included. The House passed the bill this afternoon and the Senate is expected to follow suit shortly. Dan Cardinali, CEO of Independent Sector, issued a statement that said, “We are especially grateful to a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders, as well as tens of thousands nonprofit and religious organizations, who have been instrumental in ensuring the continuation of the Johnson Amendment’s critical protections for the nonprofit sector.”
Yet, it is important to remember that the fight is not over.
A small group of policymakers have fought to weaken the Johnson Amendment in the last two major bills produced by Congress. Congressional staff and political experts assure us that there will be efforts to try again. We hope you will celebrate with us and thank Congressional leaders that made protecting charities a top priority during this spending debate. However, we also hope you feel empowered to continue to use your voice in defense of this issue when it is threatened in the future.