Senators Look to Speed Up Charitable Giving to Haiti

Posted January 14, 2010 at 12:00pm

A bipartisan group of Senators hopes to prompt an increase in charitable donations to earthquake-stricken Haiti through legislation that would temporarily loosen tax exemption laws.

The bill would allow Americans to deduct a larger amount against their annual income based on charitable donations and would temporarily extend special tax rules for food donations. Similar action was taken in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

Earlier Thursday, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would spend $100 million on relief for Haiti, where hundreds of thousands are feared dead, and will focus U.S. government agencies on a massive relief effort. A quake registering magnitude 7.0 occurred in the island nation Tuesday afternoon.

“Haiti needs our help now more than ever before and we need to make sure U.S. citizens have every opportunity to provide the Haitian people the humanitarian aid they need,— said Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.).

Sponsors of the Senate bill include Schumer and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and George LeMieux (R-Fla.).