Bipartisan legislation would ensure rural electric co-ops can continue to serve their 42 million member-owners


New legislation would protect the tax status of electric co-ops that access federal grants for purposes like expanding rural broadband. [photo: Midwest Energy Cooperative]
NCBA CLUSA sent letters to Capitol Hill this week supporting the bipartisan Revitalizing Underdeveloped Rural Areas and Lands (RURAL) Act. Led by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tina Smith (D-MN) in the Senate (S.1032) and by Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Adrian Smith (R-NE) in the House of Representatives (H.R.2147), this bill would amend the tax code to ensure cooperatives would not jeopardize their current tax treatment when accessing certain federal grants and assistance.

Unfortunately, due to an error in the 2017 tax law, the tax treatment of rural electric cooperatives is put at risk when using federal grants or assistance; for example, in the wake of a natural disaster or working to expand rural broadband. Electric cooperatives continue to serve the needs of their 42 million member-owners across rural America, and this legislation is critical to ensuring they can continue to do so.

‚ÄúBy amending the tax code to allow cooperatives to access certain government grants and assistance while maintaining the current tax treatment, you continue the legacy of policymakers empowering citizens to use the cooperative business model to serve the community and grow the economy,” NCBA CLUSA president and CEO Doug O’Brien said in the letter.

NCBA CLUSA appreciates the leadership of Sen. Portman and Smith and Reps. Sewell and Smith, and urges Congress to swiftly pass this important legislation.

Read the full letter.

Contact your elected officials and urge them to support the RURAL Act, too! Visit or email for more information.

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