DC Download March 2022

Spring has sprung in the nation’s capital, and Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom. Despite the change of season, Congress has been very busy. If you have not had time to smell the flowers or keep up with the hectic legislative activity and news cycle, fear not. Here is a download of the most pressing issues in Washington, DC affecting nonprofits:

Government Funding and Build Back Better Update

Another government shutdown was averted on March 10 when Congress passed the $1.5 trillion spending package, which will fund the government for Fiscal Year 2022 ending September 30.  Both political parties compromised on their spending preferences in the agreement, which provides $782 billion for defense-related accounts and $730 billion for nondefense. It includes $13.6 billion in humanitarian and security assistance to Ukraine.

The omnibus package also includes funding for law enforcement programs, opioid response, and a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The bill does not include billions in COVID-19 funding that the White House had asked for to support the federal government’s response to the pandemic.

Negotiation talks about a narrowed version of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan could soon restart, since Sen. Manchin (D-WV) has signaled he is open to support a bill addressing climate change, prescription drug prices, and deficit reduction.

President’s Budget Released

President Biden’s FY2023 budget proposal was released and sent to Congress on March 28. Check back for details about budget items that affect the nation’s nonprofits.

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Charitable Giving

On March 17, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on “Examining Charitable Giving Trends in the Nonprofit Sector.” The hearing focused on the role charities have played during the pandemic and what Congress can do to encourage charitable giving, including reinstating the temporary $300 charitable deduction for nonitemizers that expired at the end of 2021. There was also discussion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which played a key role helping retain nonprofit employees.

Dan Cardinali, President and CEO of Independent Sector encouraged Committee members to restore and increase the nonitemizer deduction, as well as restore the ERTC, pass the Legacy IRA Act, increase the charitable mileage rate, and strengthen the partnership between nonprofits and the federal government.

Joining Cardinali on the panel of social sector leaders were Susannah Morgan, CEO of the Oregon Food Bank, Una Osili, Efroymson Chair in Philanthropy and Associate Dean for Research and International Programs at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and C. Eugene Steuerle, Co-Founder of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. You can read more about the hearing here.

Giving Incentives for Seniors Included in the House Retirement Package

 

On March 29, the House of Representatives passed retirement legislation containing pieces of the Legacy IRA Act, which will make it easier for seniors to give back to their communities. Ahead of the vote, Independent Sector submitted a letter of support for these provisions.

Postal Reform Update

On March 8, Congress passed the Postal Service Reform Act, which would help improve post office finances by ending the requirement to fund 75 years of retirement health benefits in advance. In return, it would require future Postal Service retirees to enroll in Medicare when they are eligible – a  change that lawmakers and agency officials estimate would save $50 billion over a decade.

The legislation also moves to address concerns about the agency’s continued service, mandating a delivery standard of at least six days a week. The bill would also impose new transparency standards for the agency, requiring regular reports to Congress about the Postal Service’s financial state and the publication of delivery data, which customers could search using a street address, a ZIP code or a post office box. It would also provide for expanded special rates for local newspaper distribution.

Despite these changes to address the solvency of the Postal Service, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers (ANM) estimates the average caps for each class of mail will increase between 6.789% and 8.789%.

Types: Blog
Global Topics: Civil Society, Voices for Good
Policy Issues: Charitable Deduction, Charitable Giving, Federal Budget & Fiscal Policy