If you are as overwhelmed by your daily (hourly?) news alerts as I am, then I know the last thing you need is a long drawn out analysis of what is happening in our nation’s capital. So here are the major federal policy updates from Washington, DC that may impact nonprofit work this month:
Protecting Charities from Partisan Politics
Although thousands of nonprofits successfully fended off an effort to repeal the Johnson Amendment, the law that protects charities from partisan politics, the battle isn’t over. Some federal policymakers will look for new opportunities to repeal the law in 2018, probably by attaching it to a larger piece of legislation, like federal appropriations. Nonprofits must continue to educate their Members of Congress that any effort to weaken the Johnson Amendment, even if it is limited to religious organizations, poses a significant threat to the future of the nonprofit sector.
Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Appropriations
Congress recently passed a budget agreement that serves as guidelines for federal spending in FY2018 and FY 2019. However, they have not ironed out details, so the funding levels for specific agencies and programs remains up in the air. It also presents an attractive opportunity to attach unrelated provisions, like a Johnson Amendment repeal. Nonprofits may wish to monitor or weigh-in on Congressional debates regarding final funding levels that impact their communities and/or mission.
President’s FY 2019 Budget and Congressional Appropriations
In February, the Trump Administration released a FY2019 budget proposal. Congress is not required to implement any part of the proposal, but it can provide nonprofit advocates a window into the policy priorities of some policymakers in Washington. Nonprofits should review both the funding and legislative proposals included in the President’s budget to identify where policymakers may require additional information or education.