Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: An Increase in Support for Nonprofits from State Governments, and Executive & Legislative Updates

Monday, February 22, 2021 - 9:30 am
Stephanie Powers

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot...

Congress IconNews from the Hill

U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduced comprehensive immigration legislation based on President Biden’s proposal. Among the provisions, the bill creates a path to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., as well as a shortened process for eligible Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and persons who hold Temporary Protected Status.

Executive & Regulatory News IconExecutive & Regulatory Affairs

White House

The Biden Administration announced on February 16 that it will extend the COVID-19 Forbearance and Foreclosure Protections for Homeowners. The actions will:

  • Extend the foreclosure moratorium for homeowners through June 30, 2021;
  • Extend the mortgage payment forbearance enrollment window until June 30, 2021 for borrowers who wish to request forbearance; and
  • Provide up to six months of additional mortgage payment forbearance, in three-month increments, for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30, 2020.

The Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, and Agriculture coordinated actions in compliance with the Administration announcement. These critical protections were due to expire in March.

On February 17, Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice and White House Deputy Public Engagement Director Adrian Saenz hosted a virtual discussion with community leaders from cities across the United States to discuss community-based violence intervention programs and other evidence-based programs to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.

Department of Education

The Department published its COVID-19 Handbook Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools on February 12. ED's handbook provides practical examples and roadmaps to provide educators and staff with the tools they need to implement CDC's recommended safe practices for in-person learning.

Department of Health and Human Services

Center for Disease Control

The CDC Vaccine Task Force is rolling out vaccine confidence consultations for interested jurisdictions. To request this service, interested jurisdictions can send an email to confidenceconsults@cdc.gov. CDC also has training resources for building vaccine confidence and a Strategy to Reinforce Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccine.

From Feb. 22 to 24, CDC is hosting a virtual National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccines for representatives from state, local, tribal, and territorial leaders; healthcare practitioners; and community, education, media and private sector leaders who are part of the vaccination efforts. The forum will convene people from across the country who are part of vaccination efforts to:

  • Advance the goals of the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.
  • Ensure information is exchanged about innovative strategies and promising practices to promote effective and equitable vaccination.
  • Use data to drive vaccine implementation and respond to gaps.
  • Increase expertise and respond to states’ and jurisdictions’ needs for practical resources on how to best administer vaccine equitably, safely, and quickly to as many people as possible in communities across the country.

The agency is now also publishing the reported number of cases of the three leading variant coronavirus strains across all states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The data will be updated three times a week on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Additional information about variant surveillance can be accessed on the agency’s FAQ page.

Department of Homeland Security

Federal Emergency Management Agency

  • FEMA has published a Community Vaccinations Centers Playbook providing federal support to state, tribal and territorial Community Vaccination Centers. Playbook information includes interagency coordination, resource support, facility setup, and other requirements for consideration.
  • Regarding the current severe weather in the South, President Biden approved a "mercy" Emergency Declaration for all 254 counties in the state of Texas on February 14 due to a severe winter storm starting Feb. 11. The declaration authorizes FEMA to provide emergency protective measures for mass care and sheltering and direct federal assistance under the Public Assistance program at 75 percent federal funding and is providing equipment and resources to the state of Texas alleviate impacts from these storms:
    • 60 generators and fuel have been made available to the state of Texas to support critical infrastructure sites.
    • 729,000 liters of water, more than 10,000 wool blankets, 50,000 cotton blankets, and 225,000 meals have been staged in Fort Worth, Texas.
    • A staging management team from Atlanta is scheduled to arrive in Texas today.
    • On Feb. 18, President Biden approved an Emergency Declaration for all 77 counties in the state of Oklahoma.
    • Louisiana Governor Edwards has requested an emergency declaration due to severe winter storms. The request is under review. Several parishes in Louisiana have closed offices and school systems due to the weather. Rolling blackouts and water systems disruptions are being reported.

Department of Labor

On Feb. 17, DOL announced action designed to accelerate apprenticeship expansion as it considers halting the duplicative apprenticeship system, Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP), that it believes may reduce quality, strip protections for apprentices and cause confusion for industry. The department will suspend its acceptance and review of new or pending applications for Standards Recognition Entities in the IRAP. The Department will also relaunch the federal Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship. These actions will follow the Executive Order that President Biden signed on the same day. The new EO revokes a previous Executive Order 13801 issued in 2017 and directs federal agencies to consider taking steps promptly to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines or policies implementing that order.

Department of Treasury

Internal Revenue Service

Commissioner Charles Rettig said this week at a New York Association Bar meeting that he expects Congress will soon approve additional funding that the agency needs to increase its staffing over the next several years. Rettig said the IRS has endured a decade of decreased funding and staffing cuts but is currently experiencing bipartisan support for its efforts to quickly process and distribute two rounds of stimulus checks to millions of Americans during the pandemic. The agency has just begun processing 2020 tax returns while still dealing with a backlog of 2019 tax returns and is also preparing to distribute a third round of economic relief payments that Congress is considering following two waves of payments last year.

Department of Veterans Affairs

On February 18, the VA announced the latest of its key appointments.

State Policy IconHappening in the States

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

National Council of Nonprofits logo

More States Provide Nonprofit Funding

State lawmakers have been considering legislation to advance and fund state grant programs that may benefit nonprofits, and proposals continue to be introduced. Arizona legislators have introduced a new $5 million grant program to assist arts organizations reopen and recover (HB 2755 / SB 1385). Another proposal in the Grand Canyon State would provide

Earlier this week, Maryland Governor Hogan signed " target="_blank">$1.1 billion COVID RELIEF Act that authorizes the Small Business Development Financing Authority to convert up to $50,000 of financing for nonprofits and small businesses to a grant. The new law also exempts unemployment coronavirus relief payments from adjusted gross income and makes appropriations for the state health commission, arts council, economic development authority, community colleges, and community services.

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