Washington Snapshot

Snapshot: The CARES Act and other Stimulus Packages Passed by Congress include Supports for Nonprofits

Friday, April 17, 2020 - 4:00 pm

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot...

News IconNews from the Council

The CARES Act and other stimulus packages passed recently by Congress include wide-ranging supports for nonprofits and low-income people. However, these funds may be difficult to access and still will not meet the needs. Find out more about how the Council, with its partner philanthropy networks, is  leveraging its leadership voice on behalf of our sector in calls to action around policy and philanthropic practice. Find more about our Council Commitments and keep up with our actions on our COVID-19 Resource Hub.  

Congress IconNews from the Hill

Universal Charitable Deduction

Charities unhappy with the limits on a recent expansion of the tax incentive for charitable donations are actively engaging Members of Congress to help them understand why the $300 cap on the temporary Universal Charitable Deduction for income tax non-filers should be increased.

The Save Organizations That Serve (SOS) America Act  (H.R. 6408), introduced March 27 by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Brian K. Fitzpatrick (R-PA), would establish a permanent universal charitable deduction for both itemizers and non-itemizers.

Notably, the legislation would eliminate the $300 cap placed on the temporary universal charitable deduction established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Groups representing charities have argued that the $300 limit won’t do enough to address the expected decline in charitable giving caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Additional Funding for Small Business Relief

The recently passed CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)  for small business relief maxed out Thursday morning and stopped accepting claims due to a lapse in appropriations. Negotiations are continuing between Democrats and the Trump administration to address that growing problem as the nation plunged into unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression. President Trump has indicated that he is open to attaching money for hospitals and state and local governments to an additional $250 billion for the SBA COVID-19 lending programs. 

Congressional Operations

Congress is extending its recess until May 4 to avoid transmitting coronavirus and practice social distancing, decisions that mean the House and Senate will continue operating in skeleton form for at least three more weeks. After consultation among House and Senate leaders and public health officials, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) added two more weeks to the Senate's recess. The move matches a similar schedule change made by the House leadership on Monday.

Executive & Regulatory News IconExecutive & Regulatory Affairs

Department of Treasury

This week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued guidance and application materials for eligible state and local governments that can apply for the newly created $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, established through the CARES Act. Funding is available to help governments navigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Funds can be used for expenses incurred between March 20, 2020 and December 30, 2020. All states, as well as local governments with a population of 500,000 or more, are eligible to apply for funding.

On April 10, the IRS released  frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the interaction of relief provisions for employers in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act). These FAQs clarify the provision of the CARES Act that prohibits payroll tax deferral for employers that receive forgiveness on a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. PPP loans are available to section 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(19) organizations that meet other eligibility requirements. All employers are eligible for payroll tax deferral.

Also, the IRS has started to issue payments to individual taxpayers who provided the agency with their direct-deposit information on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns and is expected to start sending paper checks next week. Millions of people have not previously provided their bank account information to the IRS and reaching all of those people poses challenge so the IRS has officially launched the web tool for non-filers to upload their bank information. The IRS’s in-house watchdog, National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins, has reported that only 59 percent of taxpayers received refunds via direct deposit in 2019.

Regarding Opportunity Zones (OZ), some practitioners say more relief may be warranted in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  In Notice 2020-23, 2020-18 IRB 1, the IRS provided expansive deadline relief until July 15. This includes the deadline to invest a gain in a qualified opportunity fund.

Department of Agriculture

USDA’s COVID-19 FAQ’s address issues such as the food supply and food safety, critical infrastructure, loan programs, and other key issues under their purview. The Food and Nutrition Service has issued specific Program Guidance on Human Pandemic Response.

Department of Commerce

Census Bureau
On April 13, the Census Bureau announced that field operations will be suspended until June 1 and issued a request to Congress to delay its statutory reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting and revised their schedule of operations.

Resources for Virtual Learning
To help teachers and parents “homeschooling” K-12 students during the stay at home orders, the Commerce Department has a vast array of valuable resources to educate kids K-12 on topics such as our nation’s economy, our oceans, weather forecasts, notable inventions, and the importance of responding to the 2020 Census. The links below include interactive lessons, hands-on home activities, colorful maps, entertaining videos, virtual tours, tutorials, and mobile apps:

  • Bureau of Economic Analysis: BEA provides resources for both students and teachers to learn about a state’s economy, how far your money will go in another state and how we measure America’s economic well-being.
  • U.S. Census Bureau: The Census Bureau offers resources to learn about the importance of the 2020 Census and the importance of counting everyone. Activities include colorful maps about the nation and lessons about the importance of data to their state.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: students can learn about the weather, the Earth, space, sea life, the role of a hurricane hunter in forecasting hurricanes, and take a virtual tour of the ocean.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology: Kids can learn about the importance of measurement, the metric system, time keeping and even how speed and spin affects the curve ball in baseball.
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: USPTO offers resources for kids to build their own inventions, collect famous inventor cards and Girl Scouts can earn their Intellectual Property (IP) Patch. They can learn about inventions, famous patent holders, stories of inventors and entrepreneurs whose work has made a positive impact on the world.
  • National Inventors Hall of Fame:  Kids can learn about the famous inventors who have been inducted to the prestigious National Inventors Hall of Fame and explore cool STEM-related at-home activities.

Department of Labor

The National Labor Exchange Launchs a Job Resource to Support Displaced Workers During Pandemic
Their nonprofit partners, DirectEmployers Association and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), launched NeedAJobNow.USNLx.com, a job site dedicated to providing a centralized location for displaced workers to access employment opportunities from U.S. corporations with immediate hiring needs due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Powered by the National Labor Exchange (NLx)  , the site houses jobs from vetted employers in all industries and provides an opportunity for Americans to return to work and gain meaningful employment. NeedAJobNow.USNLx.com contains over 400,000 job openings and continues to grow daily. As part of the NLx, this resource is offered at no cost to job seekers or employers. All jobs found on NeedAJobNow.USNLx.com will be refreshed daily with current job content from employers across the country.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has posted a webinar addressing questions arising under any of the federal equal employment opportunity laws and COVID-19 pandemic, including information on enforcement of the American's with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII, and GINA. The webinar supplements the COVID-19 publications already available on the EEOC's website: What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19  and  Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Department of Health and Human Services

Administration on Children and Families
The CARES Act includes $6.3 billion in additional funding for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to respond to coronavirus related needs.

Department of Homeland Security

  • FEMA has issued guidance on the framework, policy details and requirements for determining the eligibility for FEMA reimbursement of states purchasing and distributing food to meet the immediate needs of those who do not have access to food as a result of COVID-19 and to protect the public from the spread of the virus.
  • FEMA continues to expedite movement of commercially pre-sourced and commercially procured critical supplies from the global market to medical distributors in various locations across the U.S. through Project Airbridge.
  • FEMA has also issued a letter to the nation’s emergency managers outlining lessons learned from the first 30 days of FEMA leading the “Whole-of-America” response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Department of Veterans Affairs

Borne the Battle is the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) official podcast  that engages with Veterans and members of the military community while spotlighting important information from across the VA. Released weekly, topic include:

  • Bridging the military-civilian divide
  • Veteran advocacy initiatives through the voice of Veterans
  • Positive stories to inspire and educate transitioning Veterans
  • New information from the VA about important resources and benefits

State Policy IconHappening in the States

The Chair and Vice Chair of the National Governors Association, Governors Larry Hogan of Maryland and Andrew Cuomo of New York, issued a statement this week on behalf of the nation’s governors that the phase three COVID-19 fiscal package offered inadequate relief for states to balance their budgets even as their economies come to a standstill and revenues dry up. They implored Congress to amend the CARES Act to allow more flexibility for existing federal funding to help support states’ efforts to fight the pandemic.

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

National Council of Nonprofits logo

NCN Analyses

States and nonprofits are stepping in to provide interim funding for nonprofits during the coronavirus crisis. Lawmakers in New York are considering two bills (A.10212 / A.10208) to create loan programs for nonprofits and small businesses in the state. The first would provide loans up to $5,000 for organizations with fewer than 50 employees, and the second would provide loans up to $75,000 for organizations with fewer than 100 employees. Both would provide a 90-day grace period with zero percent interest. In Utah, strong advocacy by nonprofit leaders ensured that round two of the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program includes 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations; the original iteration of the program did not allow nonprofits access to the funds. Loans range from $5,000 to $20,000 with zero percent interest for up to 60 months. Amounts are limited to three months of operating expenses and payments are deferred for 12 months.

In Hawaii, the Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation (HCRC), a 501(c)(3) organization, has launched HELP (HCRC Emergency Loan Program) to provide “short-term bridge loans and term loans to nonprofits and mission-aligned small businesses that are otherwise unable to secure financing and are in immediate need of capital during the COVID19 crisis.” Eligible organizations must be registered in the state, be in good standing, existed prior to the beginning of the year, have annual revenues of at least $100,000, and have been financially stable prior to the crisis. Nationally, community foundations in all 50 states and DC have created relief funds for local nonprofits fighting the virus.


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