Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: Congress is back in session!

Friday, September 15, 2023 - 1:00 pm
Government Affairs Team
Council Connection: Updates for Council Members

Public policy news and updates for the philanthropic sector

Happening at the Council

Snapshot is back!
Welcome to the first edition of Snapshot since August Recess. We'll be back every other week, whether Congress is in session or not. Over the break, we made some changes to the distribution list for this email, so if you have colleagues who should be receiving Snapshot but didn't get today's email, please forward this along, and have them fill out the form on our Advocacy page to sign up!

September Policy Update
Congress is back in session this month and facing several decisions and deadlines that could impact your work—and bring the government to a standstill. With federal funding set to expire at the end of September, plus must-pass defense and agriculture legislation that’s causing fights across the aisle and within both parties, we could be in for a wild ride. Join us next Friday, September 22, to hear from the Council's external lobbyists, Ken Kies and Arshi Siddiqui, about what’s happening on Capitol Hill and how it might impact the policies and causes you care about.

Support for Disaster Relief
This month, devastating disasters have struck both Morocco and Libya. For funders seeking to provide relief funds to these two countries, the situation is complex. The Council typically recommends that funders work with local partners wherever possible, relying on their expertise, local relationships, and long-term presence post-disaster. However, given the current enabling environment for civil society in both countries, opportunities for direct grantmaking following these disasters are limited. Read our guidance for funders.

What We're Tracking in DC

Congress Continues to Negotiate Appropriations Package 
Congress is back from the August district work period and has just over two weeks left to figure out a government funding package before the end of the fiscal year. Discussions have been contentious, particularly in the House, with Republicans unable to come to an agreement about funding bills that have a chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate. With funding set to run out on September 30, a pathway to a deal remains unclear. Congress may pass a short-term continuing resolution—a bill that usually maintains government spending at current levels to buy members more time to negotiate—but it is not yet clear when (or if) such a bill would pass. 

Want to learn more about the potential shutdown and how it could impact your work? Join our webinar next Friday at 2pm ET, where our lobbyists, Ken Kies and Arshi Siddiqui, will discuss Congress’s busy September and the possible fallout.  

Ways and Means Republicans Request Information on Nonprofit Political Activity 
During the August work period, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman David Schweikert (R-AZ) published a letter requesting information on nonprofit political activity. The open letter seeks input on existing rules and regulations governing nonprofit political activity, as well as information around foreign donations to American nonprofits. 

The Council, in partnership with Independent Sector and United Philanthropy Forum, submitted a response reiterating the importance of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations from electioneering. We also stressed that many nonprofits and foundations can, do, and should engage with public policy issues that impact their work.

Department of Labor Proposes New Overtime Rule 
The Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a rule that would require employers to pay overtime to salaried workers earning less than $55,000 per year. The proposal includes an exemption for bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees, as well as additional requirements for employees to qualify under this exemption. DOL is accepting comments on this proposal until November 7, 2023. Read analysis from the National Council of Nonprofits. 

Would this proposal impact your work? Let us know how at govt@cof.org.

Federal Government Opportunities and Updates

  • U.S. Agency of International Development Administrator Samantha Power will a host a convening on “Democracy Delivers” in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation on Wednesday, September 20 at 9am ET. Watch a livestream.
  • September is National Preparedness Month, which the Economic Development Administration uses to raise awareness about the importance of disaster and emergency preparedness. Read about federal economic recovery support.
  • The White House released new resources designed to help communities access and deploy funding designated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Happening in the States

Communities Suffer as Nonprofit Workforce Shortage Crisis Continues
Charitable nonprofits are still enduring a shortage of employees, which is imposing considerable hardships on the public, according to a new report released by the networks of the National Council of Nonprofits. Among other things, the report finds that workforce shortages are reducing nonprofit capacity and leading to longer waiting lists for services, reduced services, and sometimes the complete elimination of services needed by the public. It reveals that the hardest jobs to fill are those that interact with the public: program and service delivery positions and entry-level jobs. Read more.

Workforce Shortages and Developing Solutions
To address workforce shortages, state legislators are considering solutions to workforce challenges, such as job training and career readiness, as well as other related challenges like the lack of childcare, affordable housing, and mental health services. Several programs are in the works. Read more.

  • Mental Health: Lawmakers in Indiana approved a bill that would begin to reform the state’s mental health system and address the long-term effects of stress and burnout.
  • Workplace Fatigue: Seeking to address workplace fatigue, legislation in Maryland would create a 4-day workweek pilot program. A new law in New Jersey will expand the reasons for which a school district employee may use sick leave.

Upcoming Events

Keep in Touch!

Please feel free to reach out to any of us on the Government Relations Team with comments or concerns, or to share an issue, article, event, or op-ed you would like to see covered in a future Washington Snapshot.

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