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Opening Statement of Chairman Lewis, Overview Hearing on Tax-Exempt Organizations, Committee on Ways and Means -- Subcommittee on Oversight

July 24, 2007
Press Release


Today, the Subcommittee on Oversight is holding its first hearing on tax-exempt organizations.  Today we will take a broad look at charities and foundations and review the current state of the charitable sector. 


These organizations play such an important role in our country.  Charities and foundations make up the very fabric of our communities.  They know the deepest human needs of our friends and neighbors and they know the solutions that work. 


Often, at critical times, charities and foundations are the leaders that show government the way to care for our citizens.   We must listen and learn from you.


Last year, these organizations spent over one trillion dollars on directly serving those in need.


These services touch every corner of life in our communities – education, the arts, and medical research.  They also serve those who need our help the most by feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and lifting up those who live in poverty. 


The government alone cannot address these important unmet needs.  We count on charities and foundations to fill this gap. 


The need for these programs creates a special tie between charities and the government.  As we move forward in this Congress, we must work together for the common good of our communities. 


The question today is whether we can do more.  Can we touch more lives, and uplift more people?  We must strengthen the non-profit sector so that we can deliver more services to more Americans. 


They are counting on us.  We must not fail them.  We invite the sector to work with us toward this goal.


            Thank you.