Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: President Trump and the First Lady Test Positive For COVID-19

Monday, October 5, 2020 - 4:00 pm EDT

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot...

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Council on Foundations Joins Nonprofit Staff Vote

The Council on Foundations recently joined Nonprofit Staff Vote, an initiative that encourages nonprofits to provide staff with paid time off to vote. The Council is committed to the culture shift needed to increase voter participation in our country's elections. As an immediate action, the Council will be closed on Election Day (November 3) to ensure all staff are able to fully participate in the general election. Whether it is early voting, voting by mail, or voting  in-person, we encourage everyone to vote on or before November 3.

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President Trump and the First Lady Test Positive For COVID-19

Early Friday, the President tweeted that he and First Lady had tested positive for COVID. Since the announcement, White House staff, three Senators, and others who had attended events or traveled with the President have also tested positive. In addition, several Administration officials who had contact with the President were tested for the virus, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who has been negotiating with Speaker Pelosi on another COVID-19 package. Mr. Mnuchin has since reported his test was negative. On Saturday, the President tweeted out support for another package saying “OUR GREAT USA WANTS & NEEDS STIMULUS. WORK TOGETHER AND GET IT DONE. Thank you! ” On Sunday, Speaker Pelosi said that she was continuing to work with the Administration on a package, but there was no agreement yet.

If an agreement is reached, the House has told its members they will receive 24-hours’ notice before a vote. On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the full Senate will not reconvene until the week of October 19 with the news of three Republican Members testing positive for COVID-19.

Another HEROES Act

Last week, House Democrats released an updated version of their HEROES Act. The National Council of Nonprofits has released a summary of the provisions in the package impacting nonprofits.

The revised legislation includes $410 million for the Census and would push back the Administration’s deadline to get a final report to Congress as well as extend the Paycheck Protection Program. In addition, it provides taxpayers with another round of direct payments, additional funding for schools and childcare facilities, restores the enhanced unemployment benefits, and would provide support for state and local governments. The measure passed the House late Thursday evening, but is not expected to be considered by the Senate.

Federal Funding Continued until December 11

On September 30, the Senate passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 (H.R. 8337). The President signed it very early on October 1. The law continues federal funding until December 11, averting a federal government shutdown.

CALMER Act (H.R. 8430)

Last week, Chairwoman Maloney along with several colleagues introduced the Culture, Arts, Libraries, and Museums Emergency Relief (CALMER) Act. While text of the legislation is not yet available, according to a press release from the Congresswoman’s office the legislation includes additional emergency funding for the arts and humanities community. In addition, it includes a number of provisions that would benefit the nonprofit sector, such as removing the $300 cap on the temporary charitable deduction included in CARES and allowing taxpayers to claim the deduction on their 2019, 2020, and 2021 taxes. It would also extend the Paycheck Protection program and ensure all 501 (c) nonprofit organizations can participate.

Executive & Regulatory News IconExecutive & Regulatory Affairs

Our writer for issues concerning the Executive Branch is out of the office this week.

State Policy IconHappening in the States

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

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State Revenues Less Dire – For Now

Despite early projections of extreme financial distress for the states due to the pandemic, revenues in many states are exceeding pessimistic expectations. Some states (Connecticut, Iowa, South Carolina, and South Dakota) amassed budget surpluses in the 2020 fiscal year that ended June 30. Others (Colorado, Michigan, and New Jersey) finished in better positions than anticipated due to smaller declines in tax collections than originally projected. Oregon shows an upward economic forecast of 40 percent compared to earlier this year, which reduces an expected budget deficit. Looking to next year, Washington State anticipates a net $760 million surplus, including reserves.

Economists and policy analysts, however, warn that revenue shortfalls and budget gaps will be more pronounced next year from the fallout of the coronavirus. “It’s always been expected that fiscal 2021 will be rougher than fiscal 2020, especially on the income tax front,” according to an analyst at the Tax Foundation. A research associate at Urban-Brooking Tax Policy Center adds, “The picture is still really bad. Even if it’s not as bad as anticipated – it’s still bad, and it’s going to get worse.”

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