Washington Snapshot: Department of Agriculture: Seeking Input on Racial Justice and Equity

What You Need to Know About Public Policy This Week...

  • News From the Council
  • Department of Agriculture: Seeking Input on Racial Justice and Equity
  • CDC Rental Assistance Coronavirus Moratorium Ends July 31
  • White House and Economic Recovery Priorities
  • Infrastructure Package Update
  • Happening in the States

News IconNews from the Council

Action Alert: In June, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL), and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) introduced the Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarship Act (S.2191/H.R.4095). Read more about the bill on the Council’s website. Urge your members of Congress to support this important legislation by taking our action alert.

Nonprofit Sector Letter: The Council joined more than 50 organizations sending a letter to President Biden and Congress urging them to recognize and invest in the nonprofit sector by providing the resources and support the sector needs to help communities recover.


Congress IconDepartment of Agriculture: Seeking Input on Racial Justice and Equity

USDA is seeking input and comments from stakeholders and the public as it seeks to address systemic inequities in programs, services, committees, and decision-making processes. A series of virtual listening sessions will provide speakers an opportunity to address:

  • How USDA can remove or reduce barriers that underserved communities and individuals face
  • What USDA should do to actively increase participation and engagement with underserved communities

Registered speakers will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis and will receive confirmation of their order in the speakers’ queue. Funders with interests in rural development, food security and nutrition, and agricultural innovations are encouraged to share knowledge and data.

Register:

Submit written comments by August 14:


News from the Hill IconCDC Rental Assistance Coronavirus Moratorium Ends July 31

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium for tenants impacted by coronavirus will end on July 31 and will not be extended. Congress passed billions of dollars for tenants and landlords in the Covid relief bills for emergency rental assistance to help cover rent, utilities, and other housing costs and keep people in their homes. The Administration is putting out a call to action to community leaders and organizations for help to connect renters and landlords with the relief funds available to them.

On July 28th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will debut a new look-up tool that allows renters and landlords to find information on rental assistance in their area. Funders are encouraged to share this information by amplifying the information through grantees, partners, community collaborations, and any other communications channels into their communities that can be utilized. If any funders would like to inform the White House of their commitment, email the Office of Public Engagement ASAP at OPE@WHO.eop.gov.

Funders are encouraged to connect with their municipal or county officials to co-plan strategies and to consider making emergency grants to their state or local legal services organizations and eviction diversion programs usually affiliated with the state or regional court systems. The White House convened a national call on July 21 and has disseminated a list of Eviction Mitigation Resources that includes a reference to the role of foundations in eviction mitigation.

Funders are encouraged to reach out to the Melville Charitable Trust and the Greater Washington Community Foundation to learn more about their strategies to address the impending crisis.


Executive & Regulatory News IconWhite House And Economic Recovery Priorities

In the past week, the White House has released analyses on how President Biden’s Build Back Better framework will support women's employment and family economic security in post-pandemic recovery, including the Child Tax Credit and its impacts on its investments in the future of young Americans. The decline of women in the labor force that occurred over the course of the pandemic has placed the US in a position of decline with global competitors. Young adults are facing additional challenges on their path to economic security, including barriers to homeownership, unaffordable or hard-to-find childcare, and climate change. The Administration believes providing more stability and economic opportunity for women and young adults will lead to a more robust and equitable economy overall.


Executive & Regulatory News IconInfrastructure Package Update

Earlier this year, the administration proposed two packages – American Families Plan and American Jobs Plan. Since then, the administration and Congress have been negotiating the packages. Earlier this week, a group of senators indicated they are close to finalizing a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package saying text could be released next week. In addition, Senate Democrats are working towards passing a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that includes reconciliation instructions which will likely pass with only Democratic votes. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he expects his chamber to make progress on both bills before the August recess. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she does not expect the House to take up either package until the Senate acts first. Still, with the clock winding down before both chambers are scheduled to leave Washington for their August recess, the path forward is unclear.


State Policy IconHappening in the States

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

National Council of Nonprofits logo

Spending ARPA Funds Focus on Relieving Unemployment Costs

Unemployment costs and benefits remain a top financial burden and stress for nonprofit employers. However, some states are beginning to use some of their share of Coronavirus State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds allocated under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to reduce the pandemic-related unemployment costs for both contributing and reimbursing employers, including nonprofits. Here are some recent examples of that relief:

  • Replenishing State Unemployment Trust Funds: Last month Louisiana lawmakers enacted a budget bill that appropriates $400 million in ARPA funds to bring the Louisiana Unemployment Compensation Fund up to pre-pandemic levels. As a result, the state will avoid automatic tax increases on contributing nonprofit and for-profit employers, e., those that make quarterly contributions into the state unemployment system. Earlier this year, Maryland agreed on a spending plan that calls for using $1.1 billion of the state’s ARPA funds to shore up the state's unemployment insurance trust fund.
  • Paying Off UI Loans: During the pandemic, Ohio ran up a nearly $1.5 billion loan debt at the U.S. Labor Department to keep the state’s unemployment system solvent. Late last month, the Governor signed legislation to pay off that loan and prevent unemployment tax increases of between 50% and 150% over the next three years. Presently, 17 states owe more than $53 billion in unemployment loans to the Labor Department.
  • Covering Reimbursing Employers: Newly enacted legislation in New Jersey provides full unemployment relief to reimbursing employers – nonprofits and local governments that in the past elected to reimburse the state for the costs of unemployment benefits paid to former employees. The Garden State joins nearly twenty others that provided some relief during the pandemic to reimbursing employers.
  • Ignoring Experience RatingsVermont enacted a law that excludes employer unemployment claims experiences in 2020 from future unemployment tax rate calculations. The relief is expected to save contributing employers an estimated $400 million.

Read the Special Report, Strengthening State and Local Economies in Partnership with Nonprofits, for more ideas for investing ARPA funds to support the work of charitable nonprofits.