Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: Urge Your Congressperson to Co-Sponsor the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act, plus Updates from the Hill and White House.

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

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot...

News IconNews from the Council

In Solidarity

Our hearts are heavy from the spate of senseless shootings in Atlanta that has left eight dead, six of whom were Asian women. In their February open letter, Making Cents of the Senseless, our friends at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy encouraged philanthropy to speak out and take steps to address anti-Asian racism:

"We cannot merely shake our heads, normalize, or look past this. We can all raise our voices (especially Asian people to disrupt the internalization of “model minority”) - individually, institutionally, and at the community level."

We encourage you to read a letter by Patricia Eng, CEO of AAPIP, and Erik Stegman, Executive Director of Native Americans in Philanthropy, that was published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy in response to the shootings. We hope that as a sector we will answer their call to address anti-Asian racism and help #StopAsianHate.

Action Alert

Last week, bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House and Senate that would expand the temporary charitable deduction originally passed as part of the CARES Act. Urge your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act (S.618/H.R.1704).

Also, you can add your organization’s name to the Charitable Giving Coalition’s Endorsement List.


How can the Council team improve Snapshot? We value your feedback; complete this brief survey by March 22 to help us provide the best content for you.

Congress IconNews from the Hill

Paycheck Protection Program Extension

The House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act of 2021 (S.723/H.R.1799) on Tuesday. The bill extends the deadline to apply for the PPP program from March 31 to May 31, 2021 and gives the Small Business Administration an extra 30 days to process applications.

The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee held a hearing on the extension, where witnesses asked for clarification of the law and an extension of both the coverage period and the March 31 deadline. Central Maryland Y President and CEO John Hoey emphasized the ways nonprofits have stepped up in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis—and their need for an expansion and extension of PPP to allow them to continue to provide vital services to their communities. The Council on Foundations joined a coalition of nonprofit organizations urging members of Congress to extend the March 31 application deadline.


Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), along with a broad group of Democratic cosponsors, reintroduced the Work Opportunities and Resources to Keep Nonprofit Organizations Well (WORK NOW) Act (S.740/H.R.1987). The legislation supports nonprofits during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery by creating a grant program at the Department of the Treasury to help nonprofit organizations retain and hire employees and scale up operations to meet increased demand.

Leading the Way Forward: Biden Administration Actions to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations

The House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing on the Biden administration’s vaccine distribution efforts. Among other topics, the hearing addressed vaccine hesitancy, which, given President Biden’s declaration that there will be enough vaccine supply for all American adults by May, is likely to be a considerable challenge as the COVID-19 recovery continues.

Executive & Regulatory News IconExecutive & Regulatory Affairs

White House

This week, President Biden announced new appointments for the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Justice as well as the Director of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

Today, the White House announced that the Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure reports for White House officials are now available. Interested parties will be able to request online reports they would like to review.

Department of Agriculture

The American Rescue Plan includes $10.4 billion for agriculture support, with about half of that amount set aside for farmers of color. It allocates extra federal funds to farmers who were subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group. Combined, the nutrition and agricultural provisions to be administered by USDA are estimated at $22.7 billion. The Plan also includes billions to boost nutrition assistance programs and improve access to food supplies in the U.S. Find USDA’s Fact Sheet here.

Department of Commerce

Census Bureau 

The Bureau has tracked the pandemic job losses of mothers of school aged children. Ten million women not working accounted for over one-third of all mothers living with school-age children in the United States.

Small Business Administration

SBA is currently offering Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans until March 31, 2021. President Biden announced program changes to make access to PPP loans more equitable. In addition to more funding for the existing programs, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), Shuttered Venue Operators Grants, two new programs are available: the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants and a Community Navigator pilot program where grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources. SBA offers a variety of special programs and services for underserved communities. Nonprofit organizations and small businesses can sign up with the Agency for email updates here.

First Responder Network Authority

The First Network Authority has released its Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The First Responder Network is an independent authority within the Commerce Department since it was authorized by Congress in 2012. The report recaps a year of continued progress under the theme of “Rising to the Challenge” as we emphasize how FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network, has supported first responders during a year of historic challenges. The First Network’s mission is to develop, build, and operate the nationwide broadband network that equips first responders who protect U.S. communities.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

NITA has issued a notice seeking expressions of interest from individuals who would like to serve on the Board of The First Network Authority. The terms of 11 of the 12 non-permanent members to the FirstNet Authority Board will be available for appointment and reappointment in 2021.

The Minority Business Development Agency

MBDA is seeking proposals to open and operate an MBDA Business Center to provide technical and business development services to minority business enterprises. The 5-year grant will expand the Agency’s national network to 36 locations in 29 states.

Economic Development Administration

The Fiscal Year 2021 Build to Scale program is now open with $38M in funding available to build regional economies through scalable startups. Under the Build to Scale Program, the EDA is soliciting applications for two separate competitions: Venture Challenge and Capital Challenge. The FY21 Venture Challenge seeks to support entrepreneurship and accelerate company growth in communities, regions, or combinations of regions. The Capital Challenge seeks to increase access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply.

Department of Education

The Department announced that the American Rescue plan provides $122 billion funds for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia will help schools reopen to meet President Biden’s goal to open the majority of K-8 schools within his first 100 days in office. The Department will begin to make these funds available this month for:

  • Implementation of CDC's K-12 operational strategy for in-person learning.
  • Layoff avoidance and for staff hiring to address student learning loss students.
  • Sufficient staffing to facilitate social distancing.
  • Strategies to meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students hit hardest by the pandemic.
  • Funding crucial summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs.
  • Hiring additional school personnel to keep schools safe and healthy, such as nurses and custodial staff.
  • Providing for social distancing and safety protocols on buses.
  • Funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and devices for students without connectivity.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. EPA invites nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to its National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) until March 24, 2021. The Agency is seeking to fill approximately seven new vacancies for terms through September 2022. In compliance with the charter, new appointees will represent:

  • Community-based organizations (2 vacancies)
  • State and Local (2 vacancies)
  • Tribal governments/ Indigenous organizations (1 vacancy)
  • NGOs (1 vacancy)
  • Academia (1 vacancy)

Any interested person or organization may nominate qualified persons to be considered for appointment to this advisory council. Individuals are encouraged to self-nominate. Learn more about how to submit nominations. To contact NEJAC, email nejac@epa.gov.

Department of Health and Human Services

On March 17, HHS announced it is investing $150 million to increase access to COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapeutic treatments for patients in vulnerable communities across the country. This new effort will speed assistance to hard-hit communities to increase administration of monoclonal antibody treatments to prevent hospitalizations and deaths. Assistance may include additional staffing, infusion center capacity in traditional and non-traditional health care settings, and equipment to administer the intravenous infusion treatments. The effort will also increase awareness among health care providers and patients about the treatment options available, including where and how to access them.

Federal Reserve Board

On March 17, the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Open Market Committee released economic projections from the March 16-17 Federal Open Markets Committee meeting.

In case you did not know, the Federal Reserve devotes considerable time and attention to analyzing income, wealth, employment, and other disparities for demographic groups and areas. Understanding these data and their implications for the functioning of the economy is important input for effective policymaking across the financial sector and the government in general.

Department of Homeland Security

Federal Emergency Management Agency

As the spring storm season approaches, FEMA is broadcasting guidance and tools to help individuals, businesses, and community organizations prepare for severe weather events:

  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. To do so, contact your local emergency management agency.
  • The Emergency Alert System and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • If you are in the severe weather forecast areas, monitor a NOAA Weather Radio and your local news or official social media accounts for updated emergency information. Follow the instructions of state, local and tribal officials.
  • Download the FEMA app (available in English and Spanish; for Apple and Android devices) to receive emergency alerts and information to know what to do before, during and after disasters. The app provides real-time safety notifications, emergency preparedness tips, and disaster resources.

Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is pleased to announce the availability of Young Adult Reentry Partnership (YARP) grants. DOL plans to award $25 million to approximately six organizations to provide education and employment training to young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 who left high school before graduation or are currently or have been involved previously with the juvenile or adult criminal justice system. These YARP grants will support partnerships with community colleges, the criminal justice system, employers, employer associations, unions providing training, or labor-management partnerships. Grants will focus on occupations in industries with high local demand that will offer these young adults living wages. DOL’s Employment and Training Administration seeks applicants serving communities with high rates of poverty and crime and those whose programs offer accelerated learning and work-based learning opportunities, including registered apprenticeships, and exhibit strong employer partnerships.

Learn more about the opportunity on grants.gov. To be informed about all funding opportunities across the government, we strongly encourage you to sign up for alerts tailored to your interests on grants.gov.

Department of Treasury

The Department’s American Rescue Plan Fact Sheet explains the elements of the newly passed relief bill:

  • the economic impact payments
  • child tax credit
  • state and local recovery fund
  • capital projects fund
  • homeowner assistance
  • emergency rental assistance
  • state small business credit initiative
  • unemployment compensation

On March 4, the Department launched Emergency Capital Investment Program (CIP) that will invest $9 billion in minority communities, taking an initial step in fulfilling its promise to ensure that those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic have access to loans as the economy recovers. For questions about the ECIP and to be informed about program updates, email ECIPInquiries@treasury.gov.

State Policy IconHappening in the States

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

National Council of Nonprofits logo

Constitutional Doubts About Rescue Plan Threaten Unemployment Relief for Employers

The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) sets aside $350 billion in additional aid to state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments to be used for things like grants to nonprofit and for-profit businesses, replacing lost revenues due to the pandemic, and returning public employees to their jobs. A provision added by the Senate restricting the use of such funds to pay for tax cuts is calling into question whether the federal aid can be used to shore up state unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures 23 states used CARES Act state relief money to plug the gap in their state UI funds which were heavily depleted due to the dramatic rise in unemployment during the pandemic. However, a provision in the ARPA prohibits states from “directly or indirectly” offsetting a reduction in net tax revenue or taking an action that “delays the imposition of any tax or tax increase.” This matters to nonprofits because many are facing automatic unemployment tax increases if their states’ trust funds remain underfunded.

Several state Attorneys General are objecting to the restriction on tax cuts. Twenty-one joined in a letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen calling the prohibition “unconstitutional” and “the greatest attempted invasion of state sovereignty by Congress in the history of our Republic.” Ohio’s Attorney General has already filed a lawsuit in Federal court to overturn the provision. While many believe that the “plus up” of state unemployment trust funds may not fall within the category of proscribed uses of the Federal monies, some states may be reluctant to allocate funds this way absent further guidance from the Treasury Department, further delaying relief from exorbitant unemployment costs.

Review the National Council of Nonprofits’ summary of the American Rescue Plan Act and see a chart analyzing how different provisions will impact the nonprofit sector here.

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