Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) called on Congress to pass legislation aimed at boosting food bank donations across the country.
“This is one, common-sense step we can take to help food banks,” Casey said Monday. “Food banks play a critical role in ensuring those facing food insecurity, especially children, can get a full meal.”
Casey said his bill — the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act (S.1395) — would expand and make permanent tax incentives for businesses that donate to food banks.
The bill expands current incentives by allowing farmers who donate large amounts of fresh food to take advantage of the deductions enjoyed by corporations, restaurants and small businesses. But the existing tax incentive expires at the end of the year.
Lawmakers are expected to pass a package of tax deduction extensions when they return in January, which would retroactively go into effect. Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) could also include some tax extensions and reform in their omnibus spending bill, which Congress must pass by mid-January to keep the government open.
Casey said 70 billion pounds of food is wasted each year, mostly because businesses find it too costly to transport donations to food banks and extending the tax incentive would help alleviate some of that burden.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is the lead sponsor of the bill — Casey and Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) are co-sponsors. Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) has a companion measure in the House, H.R. 2945.