Last year was a full one, but make no mistake, 2022 will live up to the same standard. It is only January, but it feels like we are deep into the year already. If you have been working hard on your new year’s resolutions, or trying to stay healthy and have not been paying attention to the news, here is an overview of the latest legislative issues affecting nonprofits:
Build Back Better and Voting Rights Legislation Update
Democrats are having a rough start in 2022. After failed attempts to secure the votes to pass the Build Back Better Act in the Senate at the end of last year, Democrats and the Administration are currently assessing the best way to advance less controversial pieces from the $1.75 trillion climate and social spending package. Because this is an election year, House Democrats who face competitive races are asking for a new strategy that would help them claim some victories ahead of the primaries. In addition to the budget reconciliation saga, Congress has a deadline of February 18 to fund the government.
Last week, Democrats failed to modify the filibuster rule to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, with Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) joining all Republicans in opposition.
Independent Sector and United Philanthropy Forum decried the U.S. Senate’s inability to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Giving Remained Up in the Third Quarter of 2021
Fundraising through the first three quarters of 2021 kept up with the levels from 2020, and trends for donors, dollars, and retention largely remained stable compared to the second quarter of 2021, according to data in the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s 2021 Third Quarter Fundraising Report. The Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) data shows that even though giving during 2021 mostly kept pace with 2020 levels, the decrease in the number of donors continues. The estimated number of donors decreased by 1.7% through the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, while total donations increased by a projected 1.4%.
Nonprofit Jobs Update
According to the final report from The Center for Civil Society Studies (CCSS) at Johns Hopkins University, nonprofits added an estimated 9,246 jobs during December, reducing the total lost jobs by 2% of the 468,116 jobs still estimated to be missing as of November. The Center estimates it would take the nonprofit sector 11 months to return to its pre-COVID level of employment. Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. nonprofit institutions accounted for at least 12.5 million total jobs. As reported in the 2020 Nonprofit Employment Report, during the first three months of the pandemic nonprofits lost an estimated 1.64 million of those jobs.
Update on Vaccine Mandates
On January 13, the Supreme Court in a 6-3 order halted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule for larger businesses to either require vaccination or have a masking and testing policy early this year. The court concluded that Congress gave the agency the power to regulate workplace dangers, but not health care more broadly. However, in a 5-4 order, the justices allowed a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services vaccination mandate for health care workers at federally funded health care facilities.
On January 21, a federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal employees nationwide. The Biden administration immediately filed notice that it would appeal.