US CapitolPost submitted by Brian Moulton, Former HRC Legal Director

Late yesterday evening, the House approved the Senate-passed bill to address the so-called ‘fiscal cliff,’ a scheduled combination of tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts.  The legislation on its way to the President’s desk raises taxes on high earners and prevents tax increases for middle-class households.  It also delays the automatic spending cuts – known as ‘sequestration’ – for two months.  As a result, the battle of how to cut federal spending, including programs that are of critical importance to LGBT Americans and people living with HIV and AIDS, will still have to be fought in the coming months. 

We are pleased that the legislation passed last night preserves two important federal income tax deductions for our community – the adoption tax credit and the charitable deduction.  Many LGBT people form their families through adoption, and the adoption tax credit provides important support to what can be a costly process.  Many organizations that provide critical support and services for our community – from youth drop-in centers, to legal advocacy, to LGBT-focused health clinics – depend on charitable contributions, incentivized by the charitable deduction, to do their great work. 

However, we remain concerned about the broad spending cuts that have only, for now, been delayed.  We’ll continue to urge Congress to preserve programs designed to serve the most vulnerable Americans, including those that provide a vital lifeline for thousands of LGBT people across the country.  People like the nearly ten thousand low-income individuals who could lose access to life-saving medicines under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the victims of hate violence whose cases might suffer from cuts to staff and resources at the Department of Justice, and the older LGBT Americans who could lose the resources of the National LGBT Aging Resource Center. 

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