Since May of this year, when the House passed its nearly $3 trillion HEROES Act, we have been waiting for additional action on COVID-19 relief legislation that provides additional, critical support for nonprofits. In the intervening months, there have been multiple moments when it looked like something might move, only to then see things freeze back into place. Congressional inaction, and inconsistent support from the White House on getting this work done, has left nonprofits and more importantly, the communities they serve, at greater risk as the virus grinds on and the economy grinds down.
Since its return from its election-related and Thanksgiving recess, it appears that there could be some meaningful movement. Because we have been in this place of “hope” before, only to be disappointed, we are being cautious in our optimism. But it does seem wheels are starting to turn.
Earlier this week a new COVID-19 relief package was unveiled by a bipartisan group of Senators – coming in just shy of the $1 trillion mark. Prospects for that package, which did include some enhancements for the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as additional funds for childcare relief and broadband access (two core priorities of our Nonprofit Infrastructure Investment Advocacy Coalition), are not overly bright. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly followed with another bill with a much smaller price tag, with cost being a key and consistent concern for the Leader. We understand that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be putting yet another approach on the table in the next day or two – which we expect to be larger than the most recent package from Sen. McConnell. What will be included is unclear – though we expect it to pull forward multiple provisions of the HEROES Act she pushed through the House in May.
Our advocacy remains clear and unchanged. The sector urgently needs legislation that enhances the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), giving a second round of application opportunity for nonprofits and making critical loan programs available to all nonprofits. We need expanded charitable giving incentives – lifting the cap from the current $300 and extending the benefit through at least 2021. And we need full unemployment benefit reimbursement for nonprofits. You can take action right now in our Action Center.
We expect real negotiations to begin this weekend – and we hope not to be again disappointed. Votes on a final package could come next week.
Rest assured that, as/if new programs fall into place, or existing programs like PPP are enhanced, we will update our CARES Act Resource page so that you can get quick, reliable information and easily navigate new procedures to access resources.
Hang tight – it will be a bumpy ride as we close out this indescribable year. We will keep you posted on the twists and turns that are sure to come.