Jim Gerlach

Jim Gerlach


Gerlach resolution supporting Ukraine passes House


Congressional Ukrainian Caucus Co-Chair U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) continued to stand united with the people of Ukraine on Wednesday by leading the effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a resolution expressing support for Ukraine as it works to strengthen its democratic system of governance and fend off Russian aggression.

The Gerlach resolution,H. Res. 726, passed the House by a unanimous voice vote. Watch Gerlach's floor remarks here.

In addition to working to pass the resolution on Wednesday, Gerlach has introduced bipartisan legislation that would provide defensive military aid to Ukraine.H.R. 5190, the proposed Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014, would reinforce the strong relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine and take an important step toward helping Ukraine neutralize the military-support advantage that separatist rebels are using to target civilian and military aircraft in eastern Ukraine and foster violence and instability across that country.

This legislation would authorize the President to work with the Government of Ukraine to assess that country’s military, intelligence, and security needs and provide adequate and necessary assistance to protect Ukrainian democracy and sovereignty.

Here is the text of Gerlach’s floor remarks in support of H. Res. 726 as prepared for delivery on Wednesday:

"This resolution sends an unmistakable message to the Russian Federation, and the entire world, that this House stands united with the people of Ukraine.

During the last 10 months, no other ally has experienced more internal upheaval, or a more imminent threat to its sovereignty, than our friends in Ukraine.

Last November, the people of Ukraine flooded the Maidan in Kiev to peacefully protest a corrupt and arrogant regime.

For nearly three months, Ukrainians risked their lives – and more than 100 civilians died --- while ushering in a new era and a new system of governance. 

An era in which their elected leaders will be accountable and transparent; honor the fundamental human rights of all Ukrainians regardless of political affiliation; and bolster alliances with the United States and European Union to foster greater economic opportunity and prosperity.

The smoldering fires of the Maidan had barely been extinguished, however, when a new threat emerged on Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally occupied and then annexed Crimea.

He emboldened and equipped separatists who have been fomenting discord throughout eastern Ukraine.

Clearly, what Putin has in mind for Ukraine is not a new era of openness, liberty and opportunity, but rather a return to a bygone era of political intimidation and coercion.

And Putin’s gambit to reassert Russian influence in Ukraine has exacted a lethal toll.

The United Nations estimates 3,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since April as a result of the clashes in eastern Ukraine.

But through all of these challenges, the Ukrainian people have not wavered in their desire to remain independent and to restore stability to their system of governance and an economy ravaged by the excesses of the previous regime.

I believe the people of Ukraine deserve our moral and material support as their country continues to confront challenges from within its borders and from its belligerent neighbor.

And that support must include defense articles, services and training and intelligence information that will allow Ukraine to effectively defend its territory and maintain its sovereignty. 

I truly believe an independent, democratic Ukraine enhances the security of the United States and offers greater economic opportunity for citizens in both countries.

Therefore, I would ask my colleagues to pass this resolution and reaffirm the United States’ commitment to supporting the right of the people of Ukraine to independently determine their future free from intimidation and outside influence."

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Op-ed: Supersized tax system bad for business



By Rep. Jim Gerlach
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Senate Democrat leaders are extremely eager to block the escape route Burger King and other American-based companies have scurried through in recent years to find new corporate homes in countries with lower tax rates than the United States.

During a speech to the Urban Institute think tank in Washington this week, Lew said the Obama administration is so anxious that it may go it alone without Congress and impose new regulations that would make relocating businesses overseas “less economically appealing.”

President Obama and Senate Democrat leaders also have floated a proposal that would force any company that has completed a so-called inversion – a fancy term for shifting your company’s headquarters to foreign soil after completing a corporate merger or acquisition -- in the last 20 years to forfeit legal tax deductions retroactively.
That would be like the IRS notifying you that the home mortgage and charitable contribution deductions you've claimed since 1994 are no longer valid and that you'll need to send in a check immediately for the back taxes you owe.

Reactionary regulations and legislation passed in the heat of the moment may provide immediate gratification for some in Washington who simply want to punish companies that move overseas to avoid what is now the highest corporate tax rate of any industrialized nation and, arguably, the most complicated and convoluted Tax Code in all of history.

However, modernizing and simplifying our antiquated Tax Code is the only effective solution for stopping U.S. companies from shifting their corporate headquarters, their capital, and possibly, American jobs.

Six months before Burger King announced its intent to acquire Canadian coffee franchise Tim Horton’s and relocate the corporate home of The Whopper to our northern neighbor, the House Ways & Means Committee released a discussion draft for overhauling our supersized Tax Code.

There has been bipartisan agreement that our Tax Code is still stuck in an era when people sent faxes and rented VHS tapes while our fiercest competitors for capital and jobs have implemented pro-growth tax policies better suited for the current era of instant messaging and streaming movies on smart phones.

While the U.S. corporate tax rate remains at 35 percent, Canada has cut its tax rate on companies to 26.3 percent from 36.1 percent since 2006.

A pair of pharmaceutical companies here in the Sixth Congressional District, Shire and Endo, merged with foreign companies and have moved their corporate headquarters across the Atlantic to Ireland where the tax rate is just 12.5 percent.

The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) found that the average corporate tax rate of its 34 member nations was 24.1 percent -- or about 31 percent lower than the current rate for U.S. companies.

No business could survive charging its customers 31 percent more than its competitors.

And the decisions that Burger King, Endo and Shire have made to move out of the U.S. should tell all of us that our country can’t keep existing companies, attract new ones and create more jobs without overhauling our broken tax system.

Under the House Ways & Means proposal, the U.S. corporate rate would be lowered to 25 percent and many of the special-interest loopholes are eliminated. Tax rates for families and small businesses also would be reduced to allow workers to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks and encourage businesses to hire and invest in America.

The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation concluded this proposal would create 1.8 million private sector jobs over the next ten years. Additionally, middle class families would save an average of $1,300 per year, according to the Committee.

A separate analysis by Rice University concluded that enacting the Ways & Means reform plan would result keep 3.8 percent more after-tax income in the pockets of American workers and taxpayers.

Conversely, the punitive legislation Senate Democrat leaders and Treasury Secretary Lew have touted in the wake of Burger King’s move to Canada could drive 42,000 American jobs overseas and provide an incentive for businesses to invest as much as $988 billion in countries other than the U.S., according to the center-right think tank American Action Forum.

Simply adding a few thousand words to a Tax Code that already has about seven times as many words as Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” may temporarily make corporate inversions “less economically appealing.”

Unfortunately, the patchwork approach to fixing our Tax Code was tried about a decade ago.

And what that tells me is until Congress and the President address the root causes of what is driving businesses to our competitors and make wholesale reforms, business will continue finding detours around inversion roadblocks and, ultimately, American workers will suffer.

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Never Forget


Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) issued the following statement marking the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks:

"Today we pause to pay tribute to those who were killed 13 years ago during the terrorist attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon and aboard Flight 93, which crashed in a remote field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In our thoughts and prayers on this solemn anniversary are the husbands and wives, sons and daughters, neighbors and friends of those souls we lost on Sept. 11, 2001 and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice since that fateful day while defending our nation against radical terror organizations around the world. While this anniversary will always evoke painful memories of the horrific events we witnessed, it also stirs our collective desire to recapture the overwhelming sense of unity, selflessness and determination in the days that followed.

We will always remember our fellow Americans who died. We'll recall with great pride the heroism of the firefighters, police and co-workers who perished while saving the lives of so many. We will find some solace in the fact that on one of our darkest days when radical terrorists did everything in their power to divide and destroy us, Americans pulled together and persevered. As our country once again prepares to confront and destroy barbaric radicals in the Middle East who have declared a holy war on all Americans, it is my hope that we can draw upon the incredible sense of purpose and resiliency we summoned 13 years ago."

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Gerlach statement on destroying ISIS


Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) issued this statement Wednesday after President Obama called for increased U.S. military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS):

"I am pleased with the President's remarks and agree that we need to immediately expand efforts to degrade and destroy ISIS through an array of U.S. air power and coalition support. Despite his earlier statements that ISIS could be "managed", he now clearly understands the huge threat ISIS poses to America and our allies. I look forward to supporting efforts in Congress to provide the legislative authority to accomplish the goal of destroying ISIS."

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Gerlach & Kaptur: U.S. must respond to growing Russian threat on Ukraine's doorstep


Congressional Ukrainian Caucus Co-Chairs Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and on Friday said that the United States cannot allow Russia to continue its military buildup along the Ukrainian border.

Gerlach, who for months has been advocating for a firm response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Putin’s support of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine that resulted in a Malaysian passenger jet being shot down, once again called on President Obama to authorize an immediate infusion of American military and security assistance to help Ukraine maintain its sovereignty as well as protect its military and its citizens.

NATO officials and media reports indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin has amassed 20,000 troops, more than 1,000 missiles and other military equipment along the eastern border of Ukraine. The buildup has prompted Ukrainian officials to brace for a major assault on the city of Donetsk, according to media reports.

"Vladimir Putin didn’t send 20,000 Russian troops to Ukraine’s doorstep to practice their marching," Gerlach said. "By annexing Crimea this spring and continuing to foment violence in eastern Ukraine, Putin has wedged his foot in Ukraine’s front door. It is time to help Ukraine slam that door shut. That’s why I am imploring President Obama to recognize the growing threat the escalating Russian aggression poses to the security and stability of Ukraine and the entire region. It’s time for the U.S. to provide Ukraine with the defensive muscle crucial to protecting its borders, its military and its citizens."

Rep. Kaptur added:  “The world has witnessed the destabilization of Ukraine for months and this most recent military buildup along the Ukraine border further illustrates Mr. Putin’s true intentions. The United States has the capacity to provide excess defense supplies to non NATO nations like Ukraine that face overwhelming threats to their sovereignty. Russia is not an inert threat to the European continent and the world. She is a nuclear nation with vast capacity to destroy human life. Ukrainian forces are outnumbered and out supplied on every front. The Russian threat is serious and dangerous. One misstep could trigger a broader war whose edges no one can anticipate. Ukraine and her people have every right to sovereignty, territorial integrity, and self-determination as they strive for greater liberty and a more democratic future.”

Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and a candidate who sought the Democratic nomination for President in 2008, said during an interview on "The O'Reilly Factor" Thursday night that NATO should be unified in its response to the Russian threat.

Clark also backed sending material and support to the Ukraine military needs to match Russia's military might.

"They need night-vision goggles; they need intelligence (capabilities); they need flak jackets," Clark said. "It's time to get that stuff to them.”

Gerlach and his colleagues in the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus unveiled bipartisan legislation last month to provide a clear and specific process for sending direct, defensive military and security assistance to the Government of Ukraine as it seeks to strengthen its democracy and prevent separatist violence and aggression within its borders.

H.R. 5190, the proposed Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014, would reinforce the strong relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine and take an important step toward helping Ukraine neutralize the military-support advantage that separatist rebels are using to target civilian and military aircraft in eastern Ukraine and foster violence and instability across that country.

This legislation would authorize the President to work with the Government of Ukraine to assess that country’s military, intelligence, and security needs and provide adequate and necessary defensive assistance to protect Ukrainian democracy and sovereignty.

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Gerlach statement on U.S. airstrikes in Iraq


"I support the President's decision to use tactical airstrikes to protect U.S. forces and diplomatic personnel as well as innocent Iraqi civilians. Our thoughts are with all those serving our country in Iraq who are in harm's way. The brave men and women of our military made incredible sacrifices to free the Iraqi people from the grip of a brutal dictator and provide a chance for self-governance and respect for the rule of law and individual liberties to flourish. I am hopeful these air strikes will effectively blunt the grave threat posed by ISIS and other radical terror groups fighting to reverse the progress made in Iraq and plunging that country deeper into violence and chaos." Read More

Gerlach supports bill to get veterans the medical care they've earned


Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) voted in favor of a bipartisan agreement on Wednesday that would provide additional funding to ensure veterans' access to timely medical care and increase accountability within the VA system.

The House voted 420-5 to approve H.R. 3230, the proposed Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the measure later this week and send it to the President’s desk.

"I supported this legislation because it represents a critical step in reducing the bureaucracy that has left far too many of our veterans waiting far too long for care," Gerlach said. "I'm hopeful the overdue reforms in this legislation will help everyone at the VA refocus on their mission to provide the very best care every day to those who have bravely served our country. By enacting this legislation, Congress is making a serious commitment to provide veterans with greater control over health-care decisions. We're also working to provide the VA with the resources to meet the growing demand for medical and mental health services."

The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act would:

  • Require VA to offer an authorization to receive non-VA care to any veteran who is enrolled in the VA health care system as of August 1, 2014, or who is a newly discharged combat veteran if such veteran is unable to secure an appointment at a VA medical facility within 30 days (or a future published goal established by VA) or resides more than 40 miles from the nearest VA medical facility, with certain exceptions.

  • Require VA to provide a Veterans Choice Card to eligible veterans to facilitate care provided by non-VA providers.

  • Provide $10 billion for the newly-established “Veterans Choice Fund” to cover the costs of this increased access to non-VA care. Choice program authority would end when funds are exhausted or three years after enactment, whichever occurs first.

  • Require an independent assessment of VA medical care and establish a Congressional Commission on Care to evaluate access to care throughout the VA health care system.

  • Extend the ARCH (Access Received Closer to Home) pilot program for two years.

  • Extend for three years a pilot program to provide rehabilitation, quality of life, and community integration services to veterans with complex-mild to severe traumatic brain injury.

  • Improve the delivery of care to veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma as well as care for Native Hawaiian and Native American veterans.

  • Provide $5 billion to VA to increase access to care through the hiring of physicians and other medical staff and by improving VA’s physical infrastructure.

  • Authorize 27 major medical facility leases in 18 states and Puerto Rico.

  • Authorize VA to fire or demote Senior Executive Service (SES) employees and Title 38 SES equivalent employees for poor performance or misconduct.

  • Provide an expedited and limited appeal process for employees disciplined under this authority. Appeals would go to a Merit Systems Protection Board administrative judge, who would have 21 days to decide on the appeal. If a decision is not reached within that 21-day period, then VA’s decision to remove or demote the executive is final.

  • Prohibit SES employees from receiving pay, bonuses and benefits during the appeal process.

  • Reduce funding for bonuses available to VA employees by $40 million each year through Fiscal Year 2024.

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Gerlach introduces bipartisan plan for providing security and military assistance to Ukraine


Congressional Ukrainian Caucus co-Chairs U.S. Reps. Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Sander Levin (D-MI) on Thursday introduced legislation to provide a clear and specific process to provide direct military and security assistance to the Government of Ukraine as it seeks to strengthen its democracy and prevent separatist violence and aggression within its borders.

H.R. 5190, the proposed Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014, would reinforce the strong relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine and take an important step toward helping Ukraine neutralize the military-support advantage that separatist rebels are using to target civilian and military aircraft in eastern Ukraine and foster violence and instability across that country.  This legislation would authorize the President to work with the Government of Ukraine to assess that country’s military, intelligence, and security needs and provide adequate and necessary assistance to protect Ukrainian democracy and sovereignty.

“The Ukrainian people have made clear their desire to build a stronger democratic self-government and establish closer ties to the European Union and the west,” Gerlach said.  “Unfortunately, as recent events have demonstrated, the Russian Federation will not honor Ukraine’s sovereignty and will continue to meddle within Ukraine’s border until it has broken the spirit of the Ukrainian people.  The evidence released by U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence authorities shows without a doubt that rebel separatists and hired thugs, armed with superior Russian technology and weapons, continue to foment havoc and instability. The bipartisan legislation we introduced today is another important step towards reaffirming the United States’ commitment to helping our Ukrainian allies develop as a fully democratic nation.”   
Rep. Levin added: “With the overwhelming evidence that Russia is supplying the separatists with weapons, including the anti-aircraft missile that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, we want to make it clear that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine. We will help the Ukrainian people defend themselves from Russian efforts to destabilize Ukraine.”

Rep. Kaptur commented: “I am proud to stand united with my caucus co-chairs Reps. Jim Gerlach and Sander Levin today as we introduce the “Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014”. While the tragic crashing of MH17 certainly has brought the necessary condemnation of the world community, Ukraine and her people have been suffering for months at the hands of Russian-backed separatists and Russian aggressors. It is time for the United States to provide reasonable security assistance to Ukraine. The bill we introduced today reaffirms the United States’ commitment to Ukraine and her people. Our bill reiterates the President’s authority to provide such assistance and advocates for the delivery of security and intelligence assistance to Ukraine. Our bill also importantly calls to designate Ukraine as a Major Non-Nato Ally, in order to temporarily provide vital resources and the security NATO offers to member states. The world has witnessed the destabilization of Ukraine for months and this most recent atrocity further illustrates Mr. Putin’s blatant refusal to use his influence to quell the instability and violence. The United States continues to stand with Ukraine and her people, who have every right to sovereignty, territorial integrity, and self-determination as they strive for greater liberty and a more democratic future.”

Leaders from Ukrainian community organizations also stood with the Caucus during Thursday’s press conference in Washington, D.C. to announce introduction of the legislation.

Michael Sawkiw, Director of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, added:  “The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the representative organization of over one million Americans of Ukrainian descent, is pleased to support Rep. Gerlach’s timely introduction of the “Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014,” which would provide needed security benefits to the country of Ukraine as it struggles to fend off Russian aggression.  In this period of mourning and sorrow, the UCCA expresses its deepest condolences to the families and love ones of the innocent victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

Given the severity of the situation, and the numerous crimes of the Russian-sponsored terrorists in Eastern Ukraine, the UCCA is grateful for the “Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014” and calls upon the United States to provide Ukraine with Major non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status and the necessary military assistance needed to end this crisis and bring peace back to the region.  Furthermore, the UCCA urges the United States to impose harsher sectoral sanctions on Russia, and for President Obama, as leader of the democratic free world, to utilize all of his efforts to persuade the leadership of Europe to match U.S. resolve.”

Lada Pastushak, of the U.S./Ukraine Business Council,
noted: “The U.S.-Ukraine Business Council strongly supports this bi-partisan bill, introduced by Representatives Jim Gerlach, Marcy Kaptur and Sander Levin, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. This legislation will enable our Government to streamline US efforts in assisting the people of Ukraine during these challenging times as they fight for the sovereignty and integrity of their homeland, democracy and the rule of law. Furthermore, it will have a significant positive impact on a desired prompt resolution of the conflict in the Eastern Ukraine, thus preventing further loss of lives and destruction, and leading to stabilization of Ukraine and Europe. Implementation of this bill will clearly demonstrate that the US is serious about its support of Ukraine, global peace and security, bona fide democratic values, strong transatlantic partnership, and mutually beneficial economic growth and business development.”  

Dr. Zenia Chernyk, Chair of the Ukrainian Federation of America, added:  “The people of Ukraine have shed their blood to ensure that attempts to reintegrate Ukraine into a greater Russia will be resisted at all costs. The people want to live in a society governed by the principles of democracy and the Rule of Law and see their future as a part of the European Union.  We believe that a free and independent Ukraine is vital to the security and economic welfare of the U.S. and Europe and are pleased to endorse this legislation and are committed to supporting its passage in any way we can.”

While the U.S. has already provided Ukraine with economic and diplomatic assistance, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Government of Ukraine needs direct security assistance to be able to defend its sovereignty against Russian subversion.The bipartisan legislation is supported by the Ukrainian Federation of America, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, and the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council.

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Gerlach calls for U.S. to provide direct military aid to Ukraine


Congressional Ukrainian Caucus Co-Chairman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) urged President Obama on Friday to provide military aid, equipment and weaponry to Ukraine to stop pro-Russian separatists from continuing their violent attempt to rip apart the country and inflict massive and indiscriminate casualties on Ukrainian military personnel, civilians and innocent victims.

Gerlach issued the following statement outlining the steps President Obama should be taking in the wake of Thursday's horrific downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet and the loss of 300 innocent lives:

"The President's response today to this reckless act of violence was tepid, and it is clear to anyone paying attention that the White House's attempt to hit the reset button with Russia has failed miserably. Thursday was a wake-up call that pro-Russian rebels have the firepower to shoot planes from the sky and pose a grave threat to the security and stability of Ukraine and the region. The government of Ukraine has every right to defend its sovereignty and its citizens. President Obama must act to ensure Ukraine and its forces have the military assets necessary to eliminate the threat posed by pro-Russian separatists and regain control over the safety of Ukrainian air space.

The downing of the passenger jet on Thursday also clearly demonstrated that the pro-Russian separatists are receiving significant military aid from Russia. Russia's intent is clear. They are attempting to destabilize a neighboring, sovereign country and expand Russian influence in Ukraine and beyond. By providing direct military aid, the U.S. will help Ukraine neutralize Russia's influence and eliminate the military-support advantage pro-Russian forces are now using to take aim at civilian and military aircraft in eastern Ukraine. If the U.S. fails to contain the enormous threat within Ukraine, the risk for violence, bloodshed and chaos expanding beyond Ukraine grows.”

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Gerlach measure to help preserve farmland, open space passes House, heads to U.S. Senate


The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation with a provision authored by Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) that would make permanent a federal tax incentive used to save thousands of acres of farmland and open space throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.

The House voted 277-130 to pass H.R. 4179, the proposed America Gives More Act. Section 4 of that bill calls for permanently extending the federal Conservation Easement Tax Incentive, which expired at the end of 2013. The way the incentive works is that landowners who place a conservation easement on their property are permitted to deduct a percentage of the value of the land donated from their federal income taxes.

The language in the bill passed Thursday is identical to legislation Gerlach introduced last year with Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA). The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.                             
"Conservation easements provide property owners with another choice when looking for an alternative to selling their or struggling to pay a bigger tax bill to hold on to what is likely their most valuable family asset," Gerlach said. "This vote shows we are committed to giving farmers and families at all income levels in the 6th District and across our country the freedom, opportunity, and certainty they deserve when making critical choices about the use and future of their land."

Local organizations, including the Berks County Conservancy, Brandywine Conservancy, French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, and Natural Lands Trust, have partnered with private landowners utilizing conservation easements to protect thousands of acres of open space in the Oley Hills area of Berks County, the Great Marsh in East Nantmeal Township Chester County, and other natural treasures in the 6th District.

Leaders from those organizations applauded Thursday's vote.

"We are thrilled that, thanks to Representative Gerlach's unwavering leadership, the House of Representatives has passed the Conservation Easement Tax Incentive Act," said Molly Morrison, President of Natural Lands Trust, the regional land conservation organization." When landowners choose to conserve their land by donating a conservation easement, they are making a remarkable gift - one that will benefit generations to come. We are grateful to the House for recognizing that empowering more landowners to make that choice is a smart way to protect our most important natural and agricultural resources."

Sherri Evans-Stanton, director of the Brandywine Conservancy, added:
“We are deeply gratified for Congressman Gerlach’s leadership and the tremendous support we have garnered in the House on this critical issue. Permanently extending the tax incentive for conservation easements will have a significant impact in protecting our drinking water supplies, farmland, and natural resources – both regionally and nationally."

Kim Murphy, president of the Berks Conservancy, noted: “Landowners who contribute conservation easements are ensuring that generations of citizens will enjoy the conservation benefits of their property in perpetuity. This deduction is a small incentive to assist them with their vision, and our collective future. The Berks Conservancy is grateful to Congressman Gerlach for his leadership on this important issue."

A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows property owners to continue to own and use their land and pass it on to future generations.

In addition to making the incentive permanent, Gerlach’s legislation would create an enhanced incentive for conservation easements.

The enhanced incentive helps landowners of modest means choose conservation by:

•Raising the maximum deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement from 30% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in any year to 50%
•Allowing qualified farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100% of their AGI
•Increasing the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from 6 to 16 years
According to the Land Trust Alliance, without the enhanced easement incentive, a landowner earning $50,000 a year who donated a $1 million conservation easement could take a $15,000 deduction for the year of the donation and for an additional 5 years – a total of $90,000 in tax deductions.

The enhanced easement deduction allows that landowner to deduct $25,000 for the year of the donation and then for an additional 15 years, according to the Land Trust Alliance. That’s $400,000 in deductions. If the landowner qualifies as a farmer or rancher, they can zero out their taxes. In that case, they could take a maximum of $800,000 in deductions for their million dollar gift. Read more about the enhanced incentive here.                      
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Contact Information

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Committee Assignments

Ways and Means

A lifelong Pennsylvania resident, Jim Gerlach grew up in Ellwood City – a town about an hour north of Pittsburgh. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dickinson College and a Juris Doctor from the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He currently lives in Chester Springs, Chester County with his wife, Karen, and they have three children and three step-children. 

Jim has served the citizens of Southeastern Pennsylvania for more than 20 years. His distinguished career began in 1990 with the first of two terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, which was followed by two terms in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Jim is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing portions of Berks, Chester, Lebanon and Montgomery counties. In December 2010, he earned a spot on the influential House Ways and Means Committee. Jim serves on the Ways and Means Subcommittees on Health and Select Revenue.

One of his biggest legislative accomplishments was creating a much-needed veterans cemetery here in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The bill Jim authored was signed into law by the President on Veterans Day in 2003, and the cemetery opened in Bucks County in 2009.

National publications, including National Journal and Roll Call, have recognized Jim’s strong record as an independent voice for his constituents. And no member of Congress has had to fight closer contests each election cycle. The 6th District was ranked as the most competitive district in the nation between 2002 and 2008, according to a University of Minnesota survey.


Serving With

Mike Kelly


Scott Perry


Glenn Thompson


Patrick Meehan


Mike Fitzpatrick


Bill Shuster


Tom Marino


Louis Barletta


Keith Rothfus


Charlie Dent


Joe Pitts


Tim Murphy


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