Washington Snapshot: Stopgap Spending Bill Passed…Back Again on December 20; More Tax Legislation Ahead Before the End of the Year?


Note: Snapshot will not be published next week. We will recommence when Congress returns from the Thanksgiving Recess on December 2.

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot...

Congress IconNews from the Hill

Stopgap Spending Bill Passed…Back Again on December 20

The House passed a stopgap spending bill on Tuesday to keep the government open for four additional weeks. The lower chamber approved the short-term spending fix in a 231-192. The Senate passed the continuing resolution Thursday afternoon by a vote of 74-20. President Donald Trump signed the measure late Thursday afternoon before the shutdown deadline at midnight.

The bill, H.R. 3055(116), runs through December 20 and doesn’t impose new restrictions on border wall spending, punting tough decisions on border wall spending to the next round of negotiations. Among other health extender provisions, the bill does provide the military with a 3.1 percent pay raise, funds the Commerce Department for its 2020 census preparations, and allows state highway programs to avoid a $7.6 billion cut this summer. The measure also includes a number of health extenders and renews three expiring surveillance provisions through March.

More Tax Legislation Ahead Before the End of the Year? 

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled Tuesday a long-discussed package of tax incentives for renewable energy. Its fate is uncertain this year because the panel already has trade legislation and a bill to get rid of the limit on the federal deduction for state and local taxes on its calendar. It is still hoped that the simplification of the private foundation excise tax will be included in one of the year-end tax extenders bills.

As mentioned in last week’s Snapshot, Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Rep. George Holding (R-NC) introduced the bipartisan, revenue neutral bill, H.R. 4953, the Private Foundation Excise Tax Simplification Act. The bill would simplify the current two-tier private foundation excise tax to a revenue-neutral rate of 1.39 percent. The Council and other philanthropic organizations sent a letter to House leaders asking them to include simplification of the Private Foundation Excise Tax in any year-end legislation.

Executive & Regulatory News IconExecutive & Regulatory News

Department of Homeland Security: FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the following updates and tools for communities to use for emergency management planning and mitigation:

  • The “Community Lifelines Implementation Tool Kit 2.0” and the “Incident Stabilization Guide are tools primarily developed for local emergency management stakeholder; however, foundations may find these tools informative as they plan disaster emergency responses for their own organizations and for recovery grantmaking.
  • The National Response Framework, Fourth Edition has been released and is the nation’s universal framework for responding to natural disasters. FEMA incorporated significant stakeholder feedback from not only state, local, tribal and territorial emergency managers and government interagency partners but also private and non-profit stakeholders.
  • The philanthropy sector is frequently called into action when the lifeline systems of transportation, water, energy and communications fail and result in human or environmental impacts, so the new “Guide to Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience,” may be of interest to many place-based foundations.

Department of Commerce: EDA, NTIA, and Census Bureau

Economic Development Administration (EDA)

EDA is now accepting applications to create a strategic nationwide network of organizations working to address disaster response and resiliency (R2) challenges with innovative technologies The Accelerate R2 Network Challenge is designed to connect these industry stakeholders in hopes of accelerating the pace at which startups, established corporations, and other organizations bring technological advances into the market. Up to $1 million will be awarded to support focused, national strategies that will enhance entrepreneurship across these industries. Applicants must submit letters of intent by January 8, 2020, and final applications by March 11, 2020. For more information or to apply, visit https://www.eda.gov/oie/accelerate-r2/.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

According to recently released NTIA data, internet use among Hispanic Americans has continued to grow, narrowing a racial disparity that has existed since NTIA began tracking adoption through its Internet Use Surveys in 1998. The proportion of Hispanic Americans using the Internet has risen from 61 percent in 2013 and 66 percent in 2015 to 72 percent in 2017. 

Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau released the Mail Contact Strategies Viewer showing how the country will be asked to respond to the 2020 Census. Nearly every household will be invited to respond online, by phone, or by mail to the census starting in mid-March 2020. This map also shows which households will receive English/Spanish bilingual invitations and questionnaires and focuses solely on the 95% of households who will receive their census invitation or questionnaire in the mail. It does not show the almost five percent of the nation’s households that will receive their questionnaire when a census taker drops it off at their home. These special areas can instead be viewed in the Type of Enumeration Area (TEA) Viewer.

A decade of research and testing has determined the best ways to reach everyone for response in 2020. Some highlights of the undertaking to count all living in the USA:

  • Most households will first receive a letter asking them to complete the census questionnaire online or by phone in English, plus 12 non-English languages. Areas less likely to respond online, approximately 21.8% of households, will also receive a paper questionnaire.
  • Importantly, the 2020 Census supports language needs across the country. All households will receive information how to respond in non-English languages online and by phone, and about 9.3% of households (13 million) will receive English/Spanish bilingual invitations.
  • Most states (40 out of 50) plus the District of Columbia have at least some areas assigned to receive English/Spanish invitations, if they are part of an area determined to be less likely to respond online. All households that received bilingual invitations, and did not respond, will receive a bilingual paper questionnaire by mid-April.

State Policy IconHappening in the States

New York Fed Hosts December Meeting for Investors Interested in Puerto Rico Community Development


Last summer, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York launched a program that helps match financial institutions with organizations that have Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) eligible community development proposals in need of an investment, grant or loan. The first iteration of the Investment Connection Program was announced for Puerto Rico at that time.

On December 5 -- 8:30am-11:30am -- the New York Fed will hold a breakfast meeting for banks, philanthropic organizations, and impact investors to introduce the Investment Connection program and provide an overview of approved proposals for Puerto Rico. Interested investors can register online.

Exclusive from our Colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits

National Council of Nonprofits

North Carolina Ends State Taxation of IRA Charitable Rollovers

North Carolina enacted a bill last week that, among other things, ends the state taxation of IRA charitable rollovers. For federal tax purposes, individuals aged 70½ and older may make tax-free distributions to charitable nonprofits directly from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Until now, North Carolina residents who made charitable rollovers from their IRAs had to pay state taxes on these charitable contributions. The new law ends this state tax on donations to nonprofits through IRAs, simplifying the process for donors and allowing them to contribute more fully to nonprofits from their IRAs. Donors may begin to use the IRA charitable rollover to reduce their taxes this year.