The White House and some of the nation’s most prominent charities are involved behind-the-scenes discussions concerning President Obama’s push to scale back the nearly century-old tax deduction on donations that the charities say is crucial to achieve their missions.

Jerry Markon and Peter Wallsten have more details.

“In a series of recent meetings and calls, top White House aides have pressed nonprofit groups to line up behind the president’s plan for reducing the federal deficit and averting the year-end ‘fiscal cliff,’ according to people familiar with the talks.

In part, the White House is seeking to win the support of nonprofit groups for Obama’s central demand that income tax rates rise for upper-end taxpayers. There are early signs that several charities, whose boards often include the wealthy, are willing to endorse this change.

But the White House is also looking to limit the charitable deduction for high-income earners, and that has prompted frustration and resistance, with leaders of major nonprofit organizations, such as the United Way, the American Red Cross and Lutheran Services in America, closing ranks in opposing any change to the deduction.

‘It’s all castor oil,’ said Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector, an umbrella group representing many nonprofits. ‘And the members of the nonprofit sector I represent don’t want any part of it. It’s a medicine we’re not willing to drink.'”

 

The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe explains the tax breaks and deductions that are fueling debate over how to raise revenue and reduce the deficit. Charitable contributions are the tenth most claimed tax break in the current code.