The month of April has come and gone, but the infrastructure jargon and buzz about the American Jobs Plan will remain throughout the upcoming months, as Democrats and Republicans negotiate on the price tag and the literal meaning of infrastructure. Here is an overview of the latest legislative issues affecting nonprofits during these challenging times:
American Jobs Plan Released
On March 31, the Biden administration released the American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion package in infrastructure investment over eight years, extending to the power grid, electric vehicles, broadband, highways, clean water, workforce development, and much more. This investment would be paid for with items included in the Made in America Tax Plan that proposes among other things, increasing the corporate rate to 28%, imposing a new minimum tax on corporate book income, and changing the international provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
On April 22, Senate Republicans unveiled their five-year, $568 billion counteroffer to President Biden’s infrastructure plan. The Republican proposal leans toward a narrower definition of infrastructure than the Democrats’ proposal. It would include $299 billion for roads and bridges, $61 billion for public transit, $20 billion for rail, and $35 billion for drinking and wastewater. Senators of both parties are testing the waters to see whether a bipartisan agreement can be reached or Democrats need to rely on the budget reconciliation process, which requires the votes of virtually all House Democrats and all 50 Senate Democrats plus Vice President Harris.
Biden Submits FY 2022 Discretionary Funding Proposal
On April 9, the White House submitted to Congress a $1.5 trillion FY 2022 spending plan. While this proposal focuses only on annual spending for federal agencies and programs, the full budget is expected to have more details on mandatory spending, the Made in America Tax Plan, and other tax items laid out in the Treasury green book, which won’t be released until later. A FY 2022 budget resolution in Congress would unlock budget reconciliation for the infrastructure plan.
Biden to Address Joint Session of Congress
President Biden is expected to address a joint session of Congress on April 28, where he will make the case for his agenda and outline the American Families Plan, which will focus on human infrastructure with proposals on universal pre-kindergarten, free community college tuition for all, expanded subsidies for child care, and a national paid leave program for workers, as well as extensions of the expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.
Supreme Court to Hear Arguments About Donor Disclosure
On April 26, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether states can require charities to confidentially disclose their donors to regulators (Americans for Prosperity v. Becerra and Thomas More Law Center v. Becerra). If this is the first time your nonprofit is hearing about this case and Schedule B, here is a overview of the issue and what is at stake.
Nonprofits Discussed Partnership Opportunities in American Rescue Plan with White House
On April 8, more than 170 nonprofit and foundation leaders representing organizations with varying missions from across the country joined a virtual meeting with top White House public engagement and economic officials to discuss the American Rescue Plan and the need for a partnership between the U.S. government and the nation’s 1.5 million nonprofit organizations to help Americans.
An Update on Nonprofit Job Loss
According to the latest report from The Center for Civil Society Studies (CCSS) at Johns Hopkins University, March saw a significant gain of nearly 81,000 nonprofit jobs over February 2021’s total — an overall recovery of 8.5% of the more than 900,000 jobs still lost as of February 2021. Despite these gains, however, as of March 2021, the nonprofit workforce remained down by nearly 830,000 jobs as compared to February 2020 levels, representing a 6.6% decline.
Letter Requesting Support for the WORK NOW Act
On April 12, 55 nonprofit organizations sent a letter addressed to President Biden requesting the inclusion of the WORK NOW Act, an essential nonprofit jobs bill, in any infrastructure or COVID-19 relief legislation he signs into law this year.
The Work Opportunities and Resources to Keep Nonprofit Organizations Well (WORK NOW) Act (S. 740 and H.R. 1987), introduced in March by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA), would create a new grant program to help nonprofit organizations retain their employees, scale their service delivery, and provide unemployed people with new jobs serving their communities. The WORK NOW Act would inject $50 billion into frontline nonprofits, with most of the funds allocated through states, tribal governments, and localities, to enable them to pay the wages, salaries, and benefits of returning or newly hired employees.
Letter Requesting Student Loan Debt Cancellation for Public Service Workers
Independent Sector, along with 96 organizations, signed a letter addressed to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona requesting the Secretary take immediate action to cancel student debt owed by all public service workers who have completed a decade of public service. The letter also outlines three principles the U.S. Department of Education must address to improve public service loan forgiveness.