Washington (CNN) - Congress is rushing to pass a bill that would allow Americans to write off donations for Haiti disaster relief on last year's tax returns, instead of waiting until next year to deduct their charitable contributions.
Lawmakers hope it will encourage more Americans to help fund aid efforts in the devastated nation. Republican and Democratic leadership aides in the House and Senate tell CNN they expect the bill will pass easily and quickly, possibly as soon as next week. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-South Carolina; Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York; and Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, introduced a bill Friday that would apply to donations that have already been made and to donations for Haiti relief that are made before March 1.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, and Ranking Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa announced their intention Friday to introduce a similar bill once the Senate returns on Tuesday.
Congress passed similar legislation in 2005 to encourage charitable donations following the tsunami that devastated nations on the Indian Ocean in December 2004.