Advocacy Alert: Dec. 22

Congress Passes Tax Reform Legislation That Will Hurt Charitable Giving

Over the opposition of advocates for museums and other nonprofits, Congress passed comprehensive tax reform legislation on Wednesday and the President signed it into law earlier today. As shown in our updated comparison table, this final agreement does contain some good news and leaves out some provisions that would have been even more harmful. However, independent experts have predicted that this legislation will have a net impact of billions of dollars in lost donations per year as many taxpayers will no longer be eligible to claim the charitable tax deduction.

While the nonprofit community was not successful in convincing legislators to protect giving by enacting a universal charitable deduction, the idea gained significant momentum with legislation introduced in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. We will continue working with the Charitable Giving Coalition to build greater support for a universal charitable deduction in 2018.

Government Shutdown Again Averted, Government Funded through January 19

Congress also once again cleared legislation for the President's signature that will keep federal agencies open and operating on a continuing resolution, this time through January 19, 2018. Negotiators have thus far been unable to reach agreement on a larger budget deal that would allow Congress to complete its work on Fiscal Year 2018 spending bills. While there are many moving pieces in those negotiations, key legislators have indicated their support for a wide range of critical programs by proposing funding for them in earlier drafts of FY 2018 funding legislation, noted in the chart below.  

More Momentum for Museums, IMLS Reauthorization Legislation Introduced

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Museum and Library Services Act of 2017. This legislation will reauthorize the Institute of Museum and Library Services for six years and contains a number of provisions specifically requested by the museum field.

"The Institute of Museum and Library Services plays a vital role in helping museums better serve the unique needs of their communities. We are proud to support this legislation, which will strengthen the agency and enhance its ability to support collections care, education programming, and community outreach," said Laura Lott, President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums. "Museums nationwide are lucky to have champions like Senators Reed, Cochran, Collins, Murkowski, and Gillibrand fighting for them in the United States Senate."

Keep Making the Case for Museums in 2018: Register Now for Museums Advocacy Day

2017 was an unprecedented year, with museum advocates rallying in response to the first-ever Presidential budget targeting IMLS, NEA, and NEH for elimination. Together, we made our voices heard through record attendance at Museums Advocacy Day 2017, the July field-wide letter to Congress, individual messages to legislators (more than 35,000 sent over AAM's online advocacy tools!), emails and phone calls to legislative staff, and other in-person meetings and visits with lawmakers.

Your advocacy efforts are making an impact, helping protect the federal agencies whose work supports museums and what they do in every community they serve. Constituents like you make the best advocates, and Museums Advocacy Day makes it easy and empowering to take your advocacy to Capitol Hill. Learn more about Museums Advocacy Day and make your plans to be there for the 10th annual event in 2018!

P.S. Want to do more to support our ongoing advocacy for museums? Make a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year!