Budget Process for 2021 Underway in Congress 

While putting together legislation to respond to the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress is simultaneously pushing forward in the appropriations process which will set the federal budget for FY2021. In particular, the House Appropriations Committee passed four appropriations bills out of committee last week: Agriculture-FDA, Interior-Environment, State-Foreign Operations, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs. The Agriculture-FDA bill, of interest to Alliance members, would allot $68.3 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and block two regulatory rules from the Trump Administration that would’ve made it more difficult to access SNAP benefits and to receive full benefits. The bill would also allocate $5.75 billion to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The bill would include $25 billion for single family housing loans and $1.45 billion in rental assistance for rural communities. Additionally, in the Department of the Interior bill, the National Park Service would have 180 days to take down any Confederate Monuments in its jurisdiction. All of these provisions are far from becoming law. The next step will be for the entire House of Representatives to vote on these four bills, plus the remaining eight bills that still need to be voted out of committee. The same process is happening in the Senate. The deadline for the two chambers to come to a compromise on next year’s federal budget is Oct. 1. 

Source: Bloomberg Government 

The Jobs for Economic Recovery Act Introduced

Introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), and Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), the Jobs for Economic Recovery Act would fund programs that provide jobs to people who are unemployed or underemployed as a result of COVID-19. The legislation would help states finance six months of wages and jobs services for public, private, or nonprofit jobs. For states with an unemployment rate above 7%, the federal government would fund state employment programs with a dollar-for-dollar match. This will allow states to expand and experiment with subsidized employment programs that target workers who have been left behind during the pandemic. In 2022 and after, the programs would need to meet certain criteria and provide evidence on outcomes to continue receiving funding. Finally, the bill also includes a new employee retention tax credit for employers who keep workers in the program for 24 months. The bill is still pending before the Senate Finance Committee

Source: Senate Committee on Finance  

#Relief4Charities Week of Action

On July 13, Alliance CEO Susan Dreyfus presented in a virtual briefing , hosted by Independent Sector and the American Heart Association, about the challenges facing large and mid-size nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic. These nonprofits are ineligible for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides access to forgivable loans to nonprofits with less than 500 employees. Also, a recent proposal from the Federal Reserve would effectively disqualify many larger nonprofits from its Main Street Lending Program, geared towards larger organizations. In her presentation, Susan highlighted the large role that human services community-based organizations play in our economy: our collective revenues are around $200 billion, roughly the size of the airline industry. During these tough times, nonprofits, small and large, face tighter and tighter margins in part because our revenues depend on public sector funds, which are drying up rapidly during the crisis. She cited the experiences of Seneca Family of Agencies and UCAN, two Alliance members facing challenges due to decreased revenue and increased demand. The virtual briefing was part of the #Relief4Charities Week of Action , which aimed to pressure Congress to adopt concrete policy solutions for the nonprofit sector, including a universal charitable deduction expansion, financial assistance to self-insured nonprofits, additional Paycheck Protection funds and targeted relief for larger nonprofits. 

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