On December 11, the U.S. House of Representatives came up just short of enough votes to pass a bill that would have accelerated the pace of land conservation across the country. HR 5806, the “Supporting America’s Charities Act,” fell just 9 votes shy of the 2/3 majority it needed according to the special rules under which it was considered.

The bill would have made permanent the enhanced federal tax deductions for landowners who donate conservation easements.  The deductions are a key factor that enable landowners to preserve the land they love.

There were 275 votes for and 149 votes against. All 228 Republicans who were present (including all 9 from NC) voted yes, the correct vote from our viewpoint.  The measure failed to pass because of Democratic opposition.  Forty-seven Democrats voted for it, but 149 voted against.  It’s not that they opposed the provisions in the bill per se, but the politics of tax legislation are complicated, and those political considerations won out.  President Obama had threatened a veto if it had passed.

Of NC’s 4 Democratic representatives, only Rep. McIntyre voted for the bill.  Reps. Price, Butterfield, and Adams voted against.  This is a big disappointment, and all hopes for making the incentives permanent this year are dead.

Please get in touch with the NC representatives who voted yes (Reps. Jones, Coble, Ellmers, Pittinger, Holding, Hudson, Meadows, McHenry, Foxx, McIntyre) and thank them profusely for their vote. It’s never too early to start building relationships and support for next year’s efforts to pass this critical legislation.

And thank you to all of you who called or emailed your Member of Congress to urge them to support the bill!