Last night, Senate Republicans introduced their version of a third coronavirus response package. While not yet near what the sector needs and is asking for in critical support for the third largest employer in the nation, it is moving in our direction with some critical provisions. Read the full summary of our $60B request for assistance.
The new package unveiled last night, which was drafted without the participation of Senate Democrats, will make use of the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program to provide assistance for salary and other supports to small business AND nonprofit organizations. As we currently understand, the amount of a loan that nonprofits use to pay employees between March and June 30 will not require repayment, under a loan forgiveness program. Loans used to pay expenses other than payroll prior to June 30 or cover any expenses beyond that date will need to be repaid. There are questions about the operational use of those loans by nonprofits that need to be further clarified and, perhaps, revised. There are other concerning restrictions in this legislation regarding which nonprofits will be eligible (as written, nonprofits with more than 500 employees and those that receive Medicaid funding are NOT eligible).
Additionally, the Republican package creates an above-the-line charitable deduction for 2020 only, with a maximum deduction of $300. While this is a welcome recognition from leaders on Capitol Hill about the urgent need to increase charitable giving, we believe this proposal must be significantly expanded in order to help the sector meet critical needs.
Senate Democrats have been writing their own version of a third relief bill and we expect that Senate Republicans will begin negotiations with Democratic leadership at some point today.
The House is not back until Tuesday of next week, at which time they will begin to enter the process of drafting their version of this legislation and negotiations. In short, this will be in motion through the early part of next week – at least as we can tell right now.
As I shared in my blog yesterday, while we run hard, fast, and smart on this relief legislation, we must not take our eye off other, emerging needs of a healthy and functioning civil society (especially in a time of challenge). We are working hard to understand the dramatically shifting landscape in the volunteer workforce that powers our sector, and the challenges that workforce now faces. We hope to work in partnership with leadership across the sector to make sure we are, together, responding with equal energy and focus to those needs. Similarly, a healthy civil society is one where everyone votes! As we saw earlier this week with scheduled primaries, we face real challenges (and opportunities) here as well. We understand legislation is coming that will take steps to ensure that vote-from-home opportunities are robust and consistent across the nation. More to come on that in the future.
You can take action now and tell legislators that Congress must provide emergency aid to nonprofit organizations by expanding charitable giving and providing organizations with grants, loans, and tax credits. Act now!