Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: Fiscal 2020 Minibus; Federal Cash Crisis for Humanitarian Assistance at the Border

Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 3:30 pm EDT

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot...

Congress IconNews from the Hill

Fiscal 2020 Minibus Being Worked Up

Earlier this week, the House Rules Committee kicked off two days of consideration of more than 300 proposed amendments to H.R. 2740, the fiscal 2020 minibus. The $987 billion package combines five spending measures: Defense H.R. 2968; Labor-HHS-Education, H.R. 2740; Energy-Water, H.R. 2960; State-Foreign Operations, H.R. 2839; and Legislative Branch, H.R. 2779.  As of Wednesday, 221 amendments were being lined up for votes. Debate is expected to possibly extend into next week. (What’s a “minibus,” you ask? Find out here from the Congressional Institute)

However, at the White House: On Tuesday, the White House threatened to veto the nearly $1 trillion five-bill spending package, citing it would drive up the national debt and halt some of President Donald Trump's key priorities.

In the other chamber: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, and other GOP appropriators are set to meet with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and OMB acting Director Russ Vought on Tuesday to discuss how to push forward government funding bills without a spending agreement with Democrats. With the tensions rising between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump about his possible impeachment, POLITICO reports that both parties are growing worried about a potential fiscal disaster this fall when a budget deal expires.

Still aiming to pass all 12 of the annual appropriations bills on the floor by month's end, House leaders are also planning floor debate on a second spending package next week that includes five measures and would fund the departments of Transportation, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Interior, Veterans Affairs and Justice, along with science programs, the EPA and military construction projects.

The beat goes on...

Congressional Action Needed Urgently: Federal Cash Crisis for Humanitarian Assistance at the Border

Federal officials say the situation at the Southern border is growing dire due to dwindling cash — HHS' Office of Refugee Resettlement is now scaling back services for migrant children that aren't directly related to their safety, including education, legal services and recreation. Approximately 13,200 minors are in ORR custody, according to the agency. The Administration is seeking $3.3 billion in humanitarian assistance — one area that has attracted bipartisan support. That request would fund an additional 23,600 additional HHS shelter beds for unaccompanied minors.

It isn't clear when HHS will run out of money to handle the influx of children arriving at the border by themselves. The agency's $2.9 billion request is part of President Donald Trump's overall $4.5 billion ask for emergency border funding, which was left out of a recent disaster aid package due to an impasse over Trump's immigration policies. Republicans are okay with giving the Administration the full request with no strings attached; the Democrats are not.  Senate spending leaders have now scheduled a mark up hearing on the funding package for border funding and humanitarian assistance for June 19. That will clear the way for a final Senate vote.

Both Democrats and Republicans recognize that migrant children are in crisis, but the fight is over the funding to help them.

Negotiations continue.

House Ways and Means Subcommittee Hearing on Ending the TCJA Tax on Houses of Worship, Charities, and Nonprofits

Oversight Subcommittee Chairman, John Lewis, announced yesterday that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “Ending the TCJA Tax on Houses of Worship, Charities, and Nonprofits.” Essentially this is a hearing to gather testimony about ending the Unrelated Business Income Tax provision related to fringe benefits affecting tax exempt organizations, charities, and houses of worship. The hearing will be held on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.

Oral testimony will be from invited witnesses only. Written statements will be accepted for consideration and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing. To submit written comments, select the hearing for which you would like to make a submission. Then attach your submission as a Word document. Written comments must be submitted by the close of business on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, and follow the “rules” for submissions for the record. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, call (202) 225-3625.

Executive & Regulatory News IconExecutive & Regulatory News

Treasury Department Issue Final SALT Rules

On June 11, the Department of the Treasury issued  final rules and additional guidance on the federal income tax treatment of payments made under state and local tax credit programs. The regulations prevent charitable contributions made in exchange for state tax credits from circumventing the new limitation on state and local tax deductions.

The final regulations largely mirror Treasury’s initial rules. They require taxpayers who make tax-deductible contributions to a state or local entity to reduce their federal charitable deduction by the amount of state or local tax credits they receive or expect to receive. The regulations also apply to payments made by trusts or estates.

A separate Treasury notice partially shields school vouchers and other programs that offer tax deductions for contributions. It allows donors to those state-backed charities to construe their contributions as a payment of state and local taxes for federal purposes, up to the $10,000 SALT deduction cap. Treasury and the IRS intend to propose regulations encompassing the notice.

FEMA: Building Resilience through Private-Public Partnerships Conference

The Public-Private Partnerships Branch of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to host the 8th Annual Building Resilience through Private-Public Partnerships (PPP) Conference. The conference is supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Northern Command on July 23 and 24 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. The conference focuses on the collaboration required among private, public, and nonprofit sectors to help mitigate the effects of natural and human-made disasters.

More than 300 business, government, and civil society leaders are expected to participate in this event. Reserve your spot at the PPP conference today!

State Policy IconHappening in the States

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

National Council of Nonprofits

Capital Cities Looking to Nonprofits to Fill Budget Gaps

Even during good economic times, state capitals can have trouble managing their finances and a recurring tactic is to blame nonprofits and demand payment out of charitable resources. The City Council for Columbia, South Carolina, is reportedly considering a number of measures to overcome a potential multimillion-dollar shortfall in next year’s budget, including imposing fees on nonprofits. . The state constitution prohibits imposing property taxes on nonprofits, so local lawmakers are considering changing the city’s business license ordinance to remove exemptions for nonprofits. In Hartford, Connecticut, a councilmember is promoting a resolution that urges state lawmakers to craft a bill that would require private universities, hospitals, and other major nonprofit organizations in the capital city to pay property tax on 20 percent of their assessed value. As is often the case, the elected officials in these cities complain that much of the city’s property is owned by tax-exempt entities, but without disclosing that tax-exempt properties include those owned by the federal, state, and local governments.

News IconPhilanthropy News and Op-Eds

QUICK SURVEY: Cost of the Tax on Nonprofit Transportation Benefits. Answer this short survey and share how your organization will be impacted by the tax.

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