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Duquesne-based food bank encouraged by House bill amendment

Saturday, July 19, 2014, 12:36 a.m.
 

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and other Feeding America network members thanked the U.S. House for passing an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 extending and expanding charitable deductions for food donations.

House of Representatives Bill 4719, the America Gives More Act, was approved on Thursday by a 277-130 vote, after food bank supporters called Congressional offices across the country.

“The vote overall (nationally) was more bipartisan, with 56 Democrats joining 221 Republicans to pass the legislation,” the Duquesne-based food bank's government affairs director Dennis P. McManus said. “The vote came just two days after we joined with Feeding America to encourage participation in the national call-in day in support of the bill.”

McManus said HR 4719 helps Greater Pittsburgh and other food banks by improving federal tax incentives for donating food and funds to food banks; making permanent the IRA charitable rollover; and extending through April 15 the deadline for claiming charitable donations on the previous year's tax filing.

“While we have more work to do to get the food tax donation provision passed by the Senate, this is a significant step in the right direction,” McManus said. “We know that having tax incentives that help all donors, large and small, is a key part of our ability to obtain nutritious food for people in our community struggling with hunger.”

While some Pennsylvania Democrats are supporters of similar legislation, the vote in the Keystone State delegation went along party lines with Republicans including Rep. Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair voting yes and Democrats including Rep. Mike Doyle of Forest Hills voting no.

Doyle is among 15 co-sponsors of House of Representatives Bill 2945, an alternative to HR 4719 and a companion bill to Senate Bill 1395, the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act of 2013 whose co-sponsors include Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Scranton.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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