Policy Update: City Council, Federal Spending, and Student Loans
Nonprofit Connect works to keep Members updated on policy changes that affect nonprofits through Policy Updates. These messages provide brief information on what is going on in government and policy that may be of interest to the nonprofit community.
Though a Deal was Reached on Debt, Spending Debate Continues to Threaten Shutdown
President Biden and Speaker McCarthy negotiated a deal to extend the debt limit through 2024, preventing default. That deal also clawed back nearly $30 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief funds and assigned spending caps for this year and next. The House Freedom Caucus is dissatisfied with the spending caps, demanding even deeper spending cuts, and that seems to have garnered support from House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger. However, the Senate is unlikely to consider these proposals; the Senate Appropriations Committee is meeting this week to set maximums for their budget bills, and those amounts are expected to align with the debt ceiling agreement. This stalemate could produce another threat of shutdown this fall, impacting grant and contract payments in nonprofits. The debt deal alone already cut 3,000 AmeriCorps jobs and created work requirements on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, while forcing spending cuts to domestic programs, all of which could stretch limited nonprofit resources further. If a budget bill does not pass by the end of the calendar year, a one percent cut to every appropriation bill will be mandated.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Student Debt Forgiveness Saved by Veto, Could Still be Impacted by Supreme Court Decision
Congress passed a joint resolution that intended to block President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan and force the immediate repayment of student loans – including retroactive due dates from last year. The impact of that change would have placed many nonprofit employers out of compliance with the Public Service Forgiveness program and revoked the loan forgiveness nonprofit and government employees receive within the program. President Biden was able to veto that joint resolution, preventing these threats to student loan forgiveness. The Supreme Court is still reviewing the full student debt cancellation plan and may have a decision within a few weeks. Payments on federal loans that were paused during the pandemic are scheduled to restart at the end of August.
Charitable Giving Declined in 2022; Could a Universal Charitable Deduction Help?
The Giving USA 2023 report showed that giving last year was less than in 2021 – down 3.4% in current dollars and 10.5% when adjusted for inflation. Giving has only fallen three times in the last 40 years in current dollars.
As a pandemic-era effort to boost charitable giving, Congress offered a universal charitable deduction in 2020 and 2021. Almost $18 billion in donations to nonprofits were claimed by taxpayers in 2021 along. But that deduction option has lapsed. The Charitable Act (S. 566/HR 3455) would restore that non-itemizer charitable deduction so an individual taxpayer could deduct to approximately $4600, and joint filers to approximately $9600. The house companion bill was recently introduced, and the House Ways and Means Committee – while not considering this bill – is expected to consider another economic package that would expand the standard deduction. This could start a conversation about taxes and nonprofits.
Consider Participating in National Voter Registration Day – September 19
National Voter Registration Day is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year; the holiday encourages volunteers and organizations to encourage people to newly register or update their voter registration. 2020 Census data shows that 1 in 4 eligible Americans are not registered to vote. You and your organization can get involved in recruiting and mobilizing volunteers, registering voters, and educating voters by registering here.
Kansas City, MO Election Recap
Thousands of Kansas City voters hit the polls yesterday. The results are in. The below individuals will be sworn in later this summer and will serve four year terms.
- Mayor Quinton Lucas (returning)
- Councilmember 1st District At-Large Kevin O’Neill (returning)
- Councilmember 1st District Nathan Willett (new)
- Councilmember 2nd District At-Large Lindsay French (new)
- Councilmember 2nd District Wes Rogers (new)
- Councilmember 3rd District At-Large Melissa Patterson Hazley (new)
- Councilmember 3rd District Melissa Robinson (returning)
- Councilmember 4th District At-Large Crispin Rea (new)
- Councilmember 4th District Eric Bunch (returning)
- Councilmember 5th District At-Large Darrell Curls (new)
- Councilmember 5th District Ryana Parks-Shaw (returning)
- Councilmember 6th District at-Large Andrea Bough (returning)
- Councilmember 6th District Jonathan Duncan (new)
Read more: From the National Council of Nonprofits: Nonprofit Champion June 12, 2023
Stay tuned for more updates as the spring progresses.
This post was written by Kristen Wood, Nonprofit Connect's Advocacy Contributor.
Kristen is an avid participant in Kansas City’s nonprofit community and a self-proclaimed ‘lifetime learner’. In addition to working for Goodwill of Western Missouri & Eastern Kansas, she enjoys following nonprofit policy issues.
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