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National Council of Nonprofits Statement on Fiscal Cliff Deal

Posted: 
January 2, 2013

The National Council of Nonprofits expresses mixed views about the passage of the "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012" (H.R.8, as amended).  

First, we salute Congress for the strong bipartisan vote in passing a compromise bill to avert certain immediate threats posed by the fiscal cliff. We thank those elected officials and staff members on Capitol Hill and at the White House who worked around the clock to make this compromise possible and for maintaining incentives for charitable giving for most Americans. As negotiations continue on the now-postponed sequestration cuts and on the debt ceiling, we encourage Congress and the President to continue to recognize how essential these incentives are for the work charitable nonprofits perform in every community throughout the country.  

However, the National Council of Nonprofits also expresses open frustration and grave concern that Congress and the President have failed to resolve the pending across-the-board cuts of $54.6 billion from domestic spending programs that will touch virtually every person and every community in America. These unprecedented cuts will take away huge amounts of funding for everything from infants to seniors and food safety to safe transportation. Indeed, this legislation continues to leave our country under a cloud of uncertainty regarding severe domestic spending cuts that threaten to push Americans over a human cliff.  

Federal policymakers have failed to recognize that the arbitrary sequestration cuts to domestic programs will reduce funding without reducing the underlying human needs, thereby increasing demands on states, local governments, and nonprofits in local communities while also decreasing resources to provide needed services. Too many policymakers apparently are unaware that federal funding actually flows to the states and localities to deliver basic human services. Often these services are delivered through contracts with nonprofits because governments have found charitable nonprofits to be more efficient and effective, in part because they are mission-driven rather than profit-driven. After five years of serving so many more for so much longer with so much less, America’s charitable nonprofits are past the breaking point.  

Kicking the can down the road means kicking those who are already down and struggling to get back up. We, the American people, must keep up the pressure on Congress and the President to stop the punitive and arbitrary cuts and get to work on continuing our economic recovery.  

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The National Council of Nonprofits is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Learn more at www.CouncilofNonprofits.org.