Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: Debate Grows Over Confidential Disclosure of Donor Identification, Plus Updates from the Legislative and Executive Branches.

Monday, February 1, 2021 - 12:00 pm
Stephanie Powers

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot...

News IconNews from the Council

HUD Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships: Apply Now

The Council is in its ninth year of collaborating with the Department of Housing and Urban Development on the annual HUD Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. Ten partnerships between foundations and their local government entities and nonprofit partners will be recognized for effective strategies that increase the quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents. The awards event will be take place at the Council's Leading Together Conference in June and will feature the Biden Administration's HUD Secretary and the Council's President and CEO, Kathleen Enright. The deadline to apply is March 1st, 2021.


Congress IconNews from the Hill

Another COVID-19 Package

Congressional Democrats are working to move another COVID relief package as soon as possible. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested that both chambers could pass a budget resolution next week, starting the reconciliation process. President Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion package that includes $1400 direct stimulus checks for most Americans, funding for state and local governments, and additional resources to accelerate vaccine distribution. Still, moderate lawmakers are urging leadership to not abandon efforts to reach a bipartisan agreement that would provide more targeted relief and carry a lower price tag.

Senate Confirmation Proceedings of President Biden's Nominees

Marcia Fudge, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

In her confirmation hearing, Rep. Fudge told the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs she intends to prioritize racial equity and wealth creation for communities that have historically been denied it. She said she will work to reinstate Obama-era regulations that battled housing discrimination, segregation, and redlining.

Denis McDonough, Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs

Like most of President Biden's cabinet nominees, Mr. McDonough told the Senate his immediate priority will be COVID-19 relief. This will include ensuring veterans have access to healthcare and other VA benefits.

Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce

Along with reaffirming the Biden administration's commitment to economic recovery, Gov. Raimondo told the Senate she intends to "take the politics out of the census."

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Ambassador to the United Nations

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield echoed the Biden administration's desire to reinvigorate the U.S.'s partnerships with global allies. She committed to rebuilding the U.S.'s role as a global leader by using the UN to advance "peace, security, and our collective well-being."

Executive & Regulatory News IconExecutive & Regulatory Affairs

White House

Executive Orders

President Biden has rescinded an executive order that former President Donald Trump issued in October that would have created a new Schedule F worker classification for all federal employees who work on regulations. The Schedule F classification would have stripped those federal employees of many labor protections. Critics said the previous Administration's change would have effectively made rule-making federal employees the equivalent of political appointees. The Ways and Means Committee called for the Biden Administration to rescind the classification to preserve the nonpartisan nature of tax administration and limit the politicization of the federal government's civil service

Other presidential actions signed this week include Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad; Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships; Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act; and a Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking. The Federal Register catalogues all presidential documents.

Department of Commerce

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
 NOAA has published a Federal Register Notice announcing a matching fund opportunity using NOAA contract survey dollars. The goal of the pilot program is to acquire more ocean and coastal hydrographic surveying for mutual benefit, including for safe navigation, integrated ocean and coastal mapping, coastal zone management, coastal and ocean science, and other activities. Not a grant program, the purpose of the pilot is to encourage non-Federal entities to partner with NOAA on jointly funded hydrographic surveying and mapping and related activities of mutual interest. NOAA would match partner funds and rely on its existing contract arrangements to conduct the actual surveying and mapping activities. NOAA is requesting that interested entities submit proposals by February 26, 2021.

Small Business Administration
On January 6, the SBA reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for First Draw PPP Loans the week of January 11, 2021, accepting applications for Second Draw PPP Loans on January 13, 2021. SBA is currently accepting Second Draw PPP loan applications from participating lenders. Lender Match can help match potential applicants with a lender and a map of all lenders is now available. At least $25 billion is being set aside for these Second Draw PPP Loans for eligible borrowers with a maximum of 10 employees or for loans of $250,000 or less to eligible borrowers in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods. The National Law Review has published a helpful resource page on the Second Draw Loans.

Department of Commerce

The Office of Minority Health
OMH is seeking nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment as a member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health, pursuant to Public Law 105-392. All nominations should be emailed to CAPT Samuel Wu, Designated Federal Officer, Advisory Committee on Minority Health, Office of Minority Health, at Samuel.Wu@hhs.gov and copy to OMH-ACMH@hhs.gov. The deadline to submit nominations is 5:00 p.m. (ET) on March 4th, 2021.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare
The CMS Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) invites you to participate in a listening session to discuss the continuing impact of COVID-19 on populations who face health disparities, including racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, people with limited English proficiency,  and rural populations.  Two upcoming sessions are January 26 and January 28.

Department of Treasury

Internal Revenue Service

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig suggested this week to the House Oversight Committee that there will be challenges for the agency to distribute another round of stimulus payments during this year’s tax-filing season.  The agency needs time to program and reprogram for the second round of payments to guard against fraud.   Between annual tax refunds and two rounds of stimulus payments, the IRS has distributed some $735 billion in payments in roughly one year. Even with this year’s later start, Rettig said Earned Income Tax Credit payments should actually begin going out earlier — by one day, on March 1 — than they did last year.  Rettig also claimed that the agency has finally caught up with the massive backlog of mail created by the coronavirus shutdown.

  • Note to all taxpayers:  Tax filing season won’t start until Feb. 12  to give the IRS more time to adjust to changes Congress made late last year in the tax code and the second round of coronavirus-related stimulus payments lawmakers approved. April 15 remains the filing deadline, which was pushed back to July 15 last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

What We Are Hearing

Tax Policy Center Director Mark Mazur is temporarily heading back to the Treasury Department to be its point person on taxes. Mazur will fill in as deputy assistant secretary for tax policy until the administration’s nominee for the more senior position — assistant secretary for tax policy — is confirmed by the Senate. President Joe Biden has not named his choice for that job yet. Mazur served in a similar role during the Obama administration.  

State Policy IconHappening in the States

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

National Council of Nonprofits logo

COVID-19 Influences Dynamics of State Legislatures Governors Call for Budget, Tax Action

In their State of the State addresses and budget speeches, governors across the country are attempting to set their agendas for the year while grappling with the fluctuating budget reports and projections. Facing revenue uncertainties and concerns that Congress may not provide sufficient aid to the states, New York Governor Cuomo has proposed increasing income tax rates for high income earners and cutting rates for the middle class. Arizona Governor Ducey called for tax reform and smaller government, and Idaho Governor Little is proposing $450 million in tax relief through one-time relief and permanent tax cuts. Maryland Governor Hogan released an “economic recovery budget” calling for $1 billion in tax and stimulus relief while including “no tax increases, layoffs, or cuts to essential services.” Likewise, governors in ConnecticutGeorgiaIowaNorth DakotaSouth Carolina, and South Dakota have promised no tax increases, and Arkansas Governor Hutchinson and South Carolina McMasters both proposed individual income tax rate cuts.  

Governors in KentuckyIndianaIowaNew JerseyVermontVirginia, and Wisconsin promised continued investment in education, childcare, healthcare, housing, broadband, and small businesses. Vermont Governor Scott and Washington Governor Inslee also called for reducing the costs of unemployment insurance on employers, or at least reducing increases. Nebraska Governor Ricketts, who led property tax reform efforts last year, proposed spending controls by limiting property tax increases to three percent and pushing “new local spending constraints” measures. Finally, the District of Columbia has already begun cuts for services often run by nonprofits with revenue projections down $2.5 billion from pre-pandemic levels, and DC Mayor Bowser is asking some agencies for deeper cut proposals for next year.  

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