Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: Members of Ways and Means Committee Send Letter in Support of DAFs

Friday, March 11, 2022 - 12:38 pm
Stephanie Powers

What's Happening This Week...

Breaking News

Senate Finance Committee to Hold Hearing on Charitable Giving and Nonprofit Sector 

Next Thursday, March 17, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing titled Examining Charitable Giving and Trends in the Nonprofit Sector. Witnesses include Daniel Cardinali, President and CEO of Independent Sector, and Una Osili, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research and International Programs at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, among others. Council staff regularly monitors congressional hearings for any developments affecting the philanthropic sector and will include a summary of this hearing in next week’s edition of Washington Snapshot.

Happening at the Council

2022 HUD Secretary's Award: Apply by March 28!

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Council have once again partnered to support the tenth year of the HUD Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. The 2022 awards will recognize five strategic partnerships between foundations and their local government or nonprofit colleagues. Any charitable foundation can apply, regardless of their Council membership status. Apply now.

Register for Foundations on the Hill

Register for Foundations on the Hill 2022, a virtual conference experience connecting philanthropy with members of Congress. The conference takes place April 5-7, 2022, and is presented by the United Philanthropy Forum in partnership with the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector.

Happening on the Hill

Summary: Congress's FY2022 Government Funding Bill

This week, Congress released its $1.5 trillion government funding omnibus (H.R. 2471) for fiscal year 2022. The omnibus includes $730 billion in nondefense spending, a 6.7 percent increase over fiscal year 2021 (FY2021), as well as $782 in defense spending, a 5.6 percent increase over FY2021. Along with funding government agencies through the fiscal year, the omnibus includes $13.6 billion in emergency supplemental funding to support the Ukrainian people and defend democracy in the aftermath of the Russian invasion. Read the House Appropriations Committee’s factsheet on Ukraine support funding.

The House passed the legislation Wednesday, and the bill cleared the Senate late Thursday. It now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.

The package provides the Department of Treasury with $14.3 billion in discretionary funding, an $811 million increase over FY2021. In addition to election security and community economic development, this increase in funding aims to rebuild the government’s financial oversight capabilities through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The bill includes $12.6 billion for the IRS, representing an increase of $675 million above FY2021 and the largest increase to IRS funding since 2001.

In addition to funding for financial services, the omnibus includes:

  • $25.125 billion for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, an increase of 6 percent over FY2021. This includes $4 billion for rural development and infrastructure programs.
  • $75.8 billion for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. This includes $9.9 billion for the Department of Commerce and $35.2 billion for the Department of Justice.
  • $728.5 billion for discretionary defense spending.
  • $54.97 billion for Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies. This includes $44.9 billion for the Department of Energy.
  • $81.1 billion for Homeland Security, including $23.9 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • $38 billion for Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. This includes $14.1 billion for the Department of the Interior and $9.56 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • $56.1 billion for State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. This includes $17.2 billion for the State Department and Related Agencies, as well as $1.97 billion for the Agency for International Development.
  • $157 billion for Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. This includes $102.9 billion for the Department of Transportation and $53.7 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • $213.6 billion for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, a 7.6 percent increase over FY2021. This includes $13.2 billion for the Department of Labor, $108.3 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, and $76.4 billion for the Department of Education.
  • $5.925 billion for the Legislative Branch.
  • $284.6 billion for Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. This includes $14.9 billion for military construction and $112.2 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Members of the Ways and Means Committee Send Letter Opposing Restrictions on DAFs

Last week, 11 members of the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Reps. Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Mike Kelly (R-PA), sent a letter in support of donor-advised funds (DAFs). The letter makes the case that DAFs are an important tool for philanthropy to respond quickly to urgent needs, highlighting community foundations’ use of DAFs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter also warns against reform proposals that would stifle philanthropic giving. It concludes, “COVID-19 won’t be the last time America faces a crisis – and we need to ensure that we continue to make it easy for generous Americans to support their neighbors who are facing hardships. The pandemic proved that nonprofits and foundations can meet the moment when times get tough. Let’s make sure we continue to give them the tools they need for the next crisis. We urge Congress not to consider any ill-informed or overly broad policy actions that could harm charitable giving and the philanthropic sector.” Read a summary.

Happening in the Executive Branch

U.S. Government Resources: Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recommends that humanitarian relief be supported by providing monetary contributions to aid groups on the ground, rather than donating materials and goods. USAID, in partnership with the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI), has compiled a list of reputable relief organizations working on the ground in Ukraine and other Eastern European countries receiving refugees. For other helpful information, see USAID's new social media tool kit. Grantmakers and donors can find the federal government’s official policies and statements on the U.S. Department of State’s United with Ukraine webpage. Learn more about philanthropy’s response to the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis on the Council’s Ukraine Response webpage.

More At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits Available, Online or By Phone

Every U.S. household is now eligible for home delivery of a total of eight free COVID-19 rapid tests from the federal government. Tests can be ordered either online at COVIDtests.gov or by phone at 1-800-232-0233. The COVID-19 Call Center offers callers assistance in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages. Those with hearing impairments can call 1-888-720-7489 for assistance. The call center is open 8 a.m.-midnight ET, seven days a week. Funders and community organizations are urged to help spread the word about the Call Center phone option to communities with low internet participation.

State-by-State Analysis of American Rescue Plan Tax Credits for Families and Workers

On March 8, the White House released a new state-by-state analysis of the tax relief for working families in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP). American families have received the largest ever Child Tax CreditEarned Income Tax Credit for workers without dependent children, and Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit that helps families meet the high costs of care. The White House continues to urge community organizations to engage in efforts to help families sign up to receive the 2020 Child Tax credit by April 18. Eligible families can claim the credit when they file their 2021 taxes. Tools like Find Your Funds can help identify what programs a family can claim. Find Your Funds Outreach Materials (11 languages) and Navigator Trainings in Spanish are available to community organizations doing outreach.

FEMA's Nonprofit Security Grant Webinars

The FEMA Grant Programs Directorate (GPD), in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), is hosting a series of informational webinars for faith-based, community, and nonprofit organizations about the 2022 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). This grant provides funding support for facility and other physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attacks. The intent is to integrate and better coordinate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts. Register here for the upcoming informational webinars on March 16 and 25.

HHS Actions to Protect LGBTQI Children

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced several actions to keep transgender children and their families safe. In response to the recent executive order by Texas governor Greg Abbott, HHS’s announcements reaffirm the Biden administration’s commitment to supporting and protecting transgender youth and their parents, caretakers, and families. Among other actions, the federal guidance is directed at state child welfare agencies and makes it clear that states should use their child welfare systems to advance safety and support for LGBTQI+ youth, which, importantly, can include access to gender-affirming care. HHS has clarified that health care privacy and civil rights laws protect against disclosure of private patient information related to gender-affirming care.

Happening in the States

National Council of Nonprofits

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

Policies Emerge to Address the Nonprofit Workforce Shortage

Lawmakers across the country are proposing legislation that could help alleviate the nonprofit workforce shortages. In Massachusetts, companion bills (H. 237/S. 105) seek to eliminate the disparity that exists between the pay of human services workers employed by nonprofit human service providers and state employees performing similar work. The Providers’ Council of Massachusetts explains that due to this salary disparity, “it is becoming increasingly difficult for community-based organizations to recruit and retain qualified workers in the sector.” They emphasize that without a solution to the workforce crisis in the human services sector, “an increasing number of jobs will go unfilled, and programs may close, leading to a loss of services for vulnerable Massachusetts residents.”

A bill in Connecticut seeks to establish a nonprofit employee loan reimbursement program to reimburse people who attended college in the state and meet employment requirements for a nonprofit or nonprofit health care provider in the state. The reimbursements would be up to $5,000 for up to 3 years. Similar legislation in Massachusetts would create an education loan repayment program for eligible human service workers. Legislators in Minnesota are considering appropriating $29.8 million to workforce development programs, including competitive grants for organizations providing financial literacy, employment preparation, education, counseling, work-based learning experiences, and workforce training. 

Not waiting for Congress to provide childcare relief, states are considering new solutions. Last month, the District of Columbia Council approved legislation that authorizes the creation of a grant program for pay parity for early childhood educators that will send direct payments of $10,000 per eligible childcare worker. A bill in Kentucky would incentivize employers to make voluntary contributions into a new revolving fund—the Employee Child Care Assistance Partnership—into which the state would make matching contributions. Employees of contributing employers could then apply for financial assistance for childcare. A Missouri bill would allow employers to claim a 30% income tax credit on the total expenses of purchasing daycare services for dependent children of employees. The tax credit would rise to 50 percent on the expenses of establishing a childcare facility used by the dependent children of employees as well as for its operational expenses. But because the credit would apply to income taxes, charitable nonprofits and other tax-exempt employers would not be eligible unless the bill is modified.

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