The PJ Tatler

Minnesota Dem Wants Congressional Paws on Nonprofit Sector

A Minnesota Democrat introduced legislation last week that would expand the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Small Business to include nonprofit organizations.

Currently, there is no House committee tasked with overseeing — or, in Rep. Betty McCollum’s words, to support the success of — the nonprofit sector. The Ways and Means Committee oversees the organizations’ 501(c) tax exemption designation.

“Main streets across our country are filled with small businesses and nonprofit organizations.  Both are vital employers working to keep families and community’s strong and successful.  Congress needs to be strengthening all small employers that help to keep our communities vibrant and growing.”

McCollum tried in the last Congress to establish the United States Council on Nonprofit Organizations and Community Solutions in a liberal-sponsored bill that died in committee. It would have subjected nonprofits to data-reporting requirements not currently required.

The congresswoman says that Congress is “ignoring” the sector that employs 10 percent of the U.S. workforce and generates 5.5 percent GDP. She maintains that the congressional oversight can give nonprofits new ways to finance expansion.

But in introducing this latest bill, McCollum also brought up the desire to get workplace data from the nonprofit sector.

“Nonprofit organizations need and deserve a seat at the table in Congress so their voices can be heard on issues that affect their mission, the communities they serve, and the millions of Americans they employ,” she said. “In my opinion, the absence of jurisdiction for nonprofit issues in the U.S. House is unacceptable and irresponsible.”