Hello Nonprofit Leaders and Supporters,
Last week we thought our NAO Update would be the last of the year, but alas, politics in America knows no boundaries and certainly not timelines.
We were happy to report last week that Congress passed the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package bringing some significant relief to families, communities, nonprofits, and businesses reeling from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday evening, President Trump signed the bill into law. This was a turn-about from last Tuesday when the President unexpectedly slammed the COVID stimulus legislation but stopped short of saying he would veto it. The message upended Washington, D.C., drew bipartisan condemnation, and threatened to end a chaotic year with a government shutdown.
In criticizing the bill, the President demanded that the $600 relief stimulus checks included in the bill be raised to $2,000 for Americans weathering the coronavirus pandemic. House Democrats were quick to respond on Monday by approving the standalone Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act giving $2,000 in the stimulus checks.
The bill needed the support of two-thirds of House members present, which was a tall order in such a deeply divided Washington, D.C. It passed in a 275 - 134 vote. Oregon’s own Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5) was one of only two Democrats that voted against the bill calling it a last-minute political maneuver by the President and extremists on both sides of the political spectrum.
Republicans did not whip or pressure lawmakers on the vote, leaving it up to members to decide on the bill's fate after House Minority Leader McCarthy (R-CA-23) last week blocked a unanimous consent request by Democrats to increase the stimulus checks to $2,000.
The measure will now head to the Republican-controlled Senate where its future remains unclear. Senate Republicans have for months stressed over increased government spending and are likely to oppose the measure despite the President’s demands and the House passed CASH Act.
The passage of the additional coronavirus relief funding also extends the deadline on usage of the existing CRF money given to states earlier this year. That has significant impact on any nonprofit that may have been granted or contracted to deliver services by the State of Oregon. For those of you who received those funds you know that they were set to expire tomorrow - December 30.
It is our understanding that the Oregon Department of Administrative Services is working through the complications of extending thousands and thousands of CARES grants and contracts without amending each one individually and instead doing a blanket extension. If your nonprofit received CRF money directly from a federal government department and not through the State of Oregon, be sure to check that your funding mechanism gets properly extended. As we learn more, we will pass additional information along to you.
And with that, we draw toward the close of 2020. We end the year in a very different place than we started. In spite of the many hardships we’ve faced this year, we draw comfort in knowing that our communities and nonprofits are resilient and optimistic. As you plan for safe and fun New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations, I hope you take the time to consider the important role you and your nonprofits play in the culture, health and well-being of our communities, and our natural spaces and our world.
Thank you and Happy New Year!