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Public Policy Update - July 2020

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jul07

Each month, SECF provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at jaci@secf.org.


Bills to Expand Charitable Giving Introduced in House and Senate

Two Southeastern lawmakers are among the lead sponsors of bipartisan, bicameral proposals to expand the temporary universal charitable deduction put into law earlier this year.

In the Senate, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is a lead sponsor of the Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act (S. 4032), which would expand the temporary $300 universal charitable deduction included in the CARES Act to one-third of the standard deduction, or roughly $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for joint filers. The increased deduction would be available for tax years 2019 and 2020. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) has partnered with Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) to introduce an identical version of this legislation in the House.

The lead sponsors on the bill have indicated they are trying to get the expansion included in the next COVID relief package, which is expected in late July. The Senate Finance Committee is also considering expanding the universal charitable deduction in the next package, but committee members are also interested in adding compliance provisions to reduce the cost to the federal government and avoid fraud.

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Public Policy Update - August 2020

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Aug04

Each month, SECF provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at jaci@secf.org.


Fate of Next COVID Relief Package Unclear 

As of this afternoon, the state of the next COVID-19 relief bill, including provisions affecting philanthropy and nonprofits, remained fluid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released the $1 trillion HEALS Act last week. However, several Republican senators are opposed to key provisions of the bill. That, combined with the need to achieve 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, means McConnell has to negotiate not only with his own party, but also with Democrats, whose votes will be essential to passing any legislation. 

Pressure has been added by rising jobless claims and the expiration of both a federal eviction moratorium and enhanced unemployment assistance (UI), which was providing an extra $600 per week to those unemployed due to the pandemic. 

More PPP Loans Possible: As of today, the HEALS Act includes another round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers forgivable loans to small businesses and nonprofits. However, only organizations with fewer than 300 employees that can also show a 50 percent decline in revenue will be eligible for the next round. The proposal also includes liability protections for businesses, schools and nonprofits that reopen, a top priority for Republicans.

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Public Policy Update - October 2020

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Oct06

Each month, SECF provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at jaci@secf.org.

 

Post-Election Briefing for SECF Members on November 16

Mark your calendars: SECF will hold a special post-election member webinar on Monday, November 16, at 2:00pm Eastern! We will review the results of races for the White House and Congress and what they could mean for the charitable sector and its priorities in 2021.

Registration for this event will open soon – keep an eye on your email and SECF.org for details!

 

House Democrats Pass Scaled-Back HEROES Act, But Compromise Remains Elusive

Last week, House Democrats released a $2.2 trillion scaled-back relief package in a last-ditch effort to provide additional COVID relief before lawmakers leave town to campaign. Notably, the bill does not include an expansion of the universal charitable deduction but does include a few provisions helpful to nonprofits. A summary released by the National Council of Nonprofits has more details. 

Even with the bill’s reduced price tag, half a trillion dollars still stands between Democrats and the White House. As of today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were negotiating with the hopes of reaching an agreement, but a compromise before the election appears unlikely. 

Looking ahead, the next opportunity for lawmakers to advance a COVID relief package is likely during the “lame duck” session – the time between the election and the end of the year. Current government spending levels expire on December 11, so that will present another opportunity to advance a relief measure that could include nonprofit policies like an expanded universal charitable deduction and additional PPP relief. 

 

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Public Policy Update - December 2020

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Dec08

Each month, SECF provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at jaci@secf.org.

 

Expanded Charitable Deduction Could be Part of Year-End COVID Relief Bill

Renewed hopes for a COVID relief package in Congress have also improved the prospects of an expanded charitable deduction.

Prospects for legislation gained significant momentum last week after a bipartisan group of lawmakers revealed a $908 billion plan mostly comprised of extended unemployment benefits, aid for state and local governments and small business loans. The proposal quickly won support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The bill’s price tag places it between the $2.2 trillion package House Democrats passed earlier this year and a $500 billion package Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has called for in recent weeks. 

McConnell’s counterproposal, notably, would expand the temporary universal charitable deduction that was included in the CARES Act, which became law in the early weeks of the pandemic and established a $300 deduction for non-itemizers. That provision expires at the end of this year – McConnell’s latest proposal would establish a new universal charitable deduction of $600 for single filers and $1,200 for married couples filing jointly. 

Lawmakers are also staring down a December 11 deadline to prevent a government shutdown. Yesterday, McConnell said he expects to pass a one-week stopgap bill which would keep the government funded until December 18. That would give lawmakers negotiating a COVID relief bill an additional week to come to an agreement – the relief bill is widely expected to be attached to a year-end omnibus funding measure.

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Public Policy Update - June 2021

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jun08

Each month, SECF provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at jaci@secf.org.

 

Infrastructure Talks Continue, But Bipartisan Compromise Seems Unlikely

In previous Public Policy Updates, we detailed the provisions of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. Since then, both measures have been the subject of prolonged negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans aimed at producing a bipartisan agreement.

While President Biden met today with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the Senate GOP’s lead negotiator on the package, an agreement still seems unlikely. Both sides have moved somewhat from their earliest positions, but they are still separated by more than a trillion dollars.

Pressure is growing from congressional Democrats to abandon hope for a bipartisan deal and forge ahead with a larger package more in tune with Biden’s original proposals. Passing such a bill would require the use of the fast-track reconciliation process employed for the COVID relief bill signed into law earlier this year.

While the American Jobs Plan is focused primarily on physical infrastructure and public works, the American Families Plan includes funding to boost many parts of the social safety net, including education, health care and childcare.

 

Prospects for Big Legislation Dim After Manchin Reiterates Filibuster Support

Since securing control of the Senate in January, Democrats had hoped to leverage their narrow majorities to pass significant legislation related to voting rights, climate change, health care and a host of other issues.

Advancing bills on any of these topics would have required weakening or eliminating the Senate filibuster, which effectively sets a 60-vote threshold for most legislation – the reconciliation process used for tax and spending legislation is a notable exception.

Any changes to the filibuster would require the support of all 50 Senate Democrats. Over the weekend, however, one of them signaled any change was off the table.

Writing in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) argued members of his party have demonized the filibuster, which he wrote can “make absolute power difficult while still delivering solutions to the issues facing our country.”

In expressing support for the filibuster, Manchin also indicated he would vote against a voting rights package due to its lack of Republican support. However, he still supports another bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, that would restore some parts of the Voting Rights Act nullified by the Supreme Court in 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder decision.

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Public Policy Update - July 2021

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Jul13

Each month, SECF provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at jaci@secf.org.

 

Upcoming Member Webinar on the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act  

Register


Join us at 3:00pm ET on Tuesday, July 27, for a special public policy Member Webinar on the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act, legislation introduced last month that would make significant changes to laws governing the work of private foundations and donor-advised funds (DAFs).

Our webinar will review the major provisions of the legislation and what its provisions could mean for donor-advised funds and different types of foundations. We’ll also discuss the prospects for the legislation in Washington.

Joining us will be Sandra Swirski, Sara Barba and other members of the Philanthropy Team at Urban Swirski & Associates, a leading bipartisan Washington, D.C., advocacy firm. 

For more details on the ACE Act and its provisions, read the item below!

 

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Public Policy Update - September 2021

Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations

Sep15

Each month, SECF provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at jaci@secf.org.

 

Work Continues on $3.5 Trillion “Social Infrastructure” Bill

The $3.5 trillion tax and spending package that forms the centerpiece of President Biden’s domestic agenda is now making its way through the legislative process in the House and Senate.

In the House, the Ways and Means Committee is crafting its part of the bill this week. Democrats suffered a setback today in the Energy and Commerce Committee, where three moderates in the party voted down a plan to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare recipients.

That proposal – long a priority of Democratic leaders – provides a crucial part of the financing for the overall legislation. While it can be added back in, its defeat here reflects the unease some moderates in the party have with the legislation.

Senate Democrats are expected to release their own detailed version of the legislation this week. Over the weekend, moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) indicated he remains opposed to the $3.5 trillion price tag that Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress have set for the bill.

The overall package still has to go through many steps and there are expected to be significant differences between the versions passed by the House and the Senate. We will continue monitoring the legislative package, which aims to address many areas of concern to grantmakers.

 

Hurricane Ida, Flooding Relief Likely to Be Part of Stopgap Spending Bill

The fiscal year ends on September 30 and with none of the regular spending bills passed into law, Congress will have to pass what’s known as a continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown on October 1.

The resolution would keep the government running at existing funding levels. However, it will also likely include new spending to address immediate issues, including disaster relief for areas damaged by Hurricane Ida, flooding in central Tennessee and other natural disasters.

 

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Public Policy Update - December 2021

Author: Philanthropy Southeast

Dec16

Each month, Philanthropy Southeast provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, Philanthropy Southeast’s vice president of member engagement, at jaci@secf.org.

 

Federal Aid Promised for Communities Affected by Tornadoes

In the wake of deadly storms and tornadoes that have devastated communities and caused dozens of deaths in Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee and other states, the federal government has announced it will provide disaster assistance in counties as they begin what is expected to be a long recovery.

In Kentucky, the state that suffered the worst impacts of the tornadoes, President Biden announced that federal disaster funds will provide 100 percent coverage for debris removal and emergency protective measures for 30 days.

Philanthropy has also stepped up to provide support for communities. The Community Foundation of West Kentucky quickly established a recovery fund that is now accepting donations. The Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation is also accepting donations to support relief in Muhlenberg County.

More details on how you can support recovery and relief in west Kentucky will be provided in this week’s Connect newsletter.

 

Senate Logjam Makes Year-End Extension of Universal Charitable Deduction Unlikely

The universal charitable deduction that has been in place since March 2020 is at risk of expiring, at least temporarily, while Senate Democrats and the White House continue to negotiate on their version of President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda.

Typically, the end of the year sees Congress pass a package of so-called tax extenders, which extends expiring tax provisions into the coming year. However, that package has been delayed while the Senate has been occupied with a debt ceiling fix passed earlier this month and a push by Democratic leaders to pass “Build Back Better” legislation before the end of the year.

For 2021, taxpayers who do not itemize their return are able to deduct $300 ($600 for joint filers) of certain qualified charitable contributions – but Congress has yet to act to extend the deduction into 2022 and beyond.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) acknowledged last week that an extenders bill may be necessary to extend the enhanced child tax credit expiring at year’s end if passage of “Build Back Better” slips into 2022. There are several other expiring provisions, both from COVID relief legislation and the 2017 tax bill, that could be included as well.

 

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Southeastern Council of Foundations
100 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2080
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Visiting SECF:
All staff are working remotely at this time but can still be reached via email and by calling (404) 524-0911.

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Phone: (404) 524-0911
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Mission: SECF strengthens Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.