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Senate rejects resolution criticizing charitable deduction change

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Senate narrowly rejected a resolution that criticized President Obama’s proposal to reduce the charitable tax deduction for wealthy taxpayers.

A non-binding "sense of the Senate" resolution stating that Congress should preserve the "full tax deduction and look for additional ways to encourage charitable giving" lost by a 49-48 margin on Thursday, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported. The resolution, proposed by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was an amendment to a national service bill.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-N.D.) offered a less broad resolution that removed the word "full" and just stated general support for the charitable deduction. It passed by a 56-41 vote, with only Republicans opposing it.

Obama has proposed that the charitable deduction for taxpayers earning more than $250,000 be lowered from 35 to 28 percent, with the money raised from the change going to finance healthcare reform. More than 100 Jewish organizations have expressed "significant concerns" with the proposal and its possible effect on charitable giving, and the Orthodox Union opposes it.

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