October 8, 2021
In this issue...
Behind-the-scenes negotiations continue on federal and state budgets
U.S. Senate deal would prevent "catastrophic economic consequences" by raising federal debt limit
U.S. Department of Education announces overhaul of Public Service Loan Forgiveness program
State legislators begin development of new state legislative and congressional districts
Nonprofits send input to OSHA on COVID-19 vaccination requirement regulations
Third quarter lobbying reports due by October 21
Nonprofits can help maximize participation in 2021 municipal elections
Behind-the-Scenes Negotiations Continue on Federal and State Budgets
This week, leaders in Washington and Raleigh have been negotiating behind closed doors on massive spending plans for the federal and state governments. To help your nonprofit understand the basics of the federal and state budgets – and why they matter for nonprofits – the Center has developed a fact sheet on the federal and state budget process. Here is a quick update on the status of negotiations on both spending plans:

  1. The federal government is currently operating under a continuing budget resolution that provides temporary funding through December 3. Democrats in Congress continue to negotiate on a pair of bills that would: (a) spend about $1 trillion on infrastructure like roads, bridges, public transportation, and broadband; and (b) spend between $1.5 trillion and $3.5 trillion on “human infrastructure” like anti-poverty programs, clean energy, expanded health coverage, and affordable housing. Many of the programs in the “human infrastructure” or “Build Back Better” proposal would provide funding for nonprofits and support to people who receive services from nonprofits.
  2. At the state level, legislative leaders are negotiating with Governor Roy Cooper on the final version of the state budget for FY2021-23 (S.105). The new budget could provide several million dollars in new funding for nonprofits. The Center has prepared a chart comparing various appropriations and provisions affecting nonprofits in the House-approved budget and the Senate-approved version. 
U.S. Senate Deal Would Prevent “Catastrophic Economic Consequences” by Raising Federal Debt Limit
Yesterday, Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate agreed on a plan to raise the debt limit by about $480 billion so that the federal government will not default on its past financial obligations until December 3. The Senate approved the legislation last night in a party-line vote, and the House is expected to approve it soon. The U.S. Treasury Department said that the country would have faced “catastrophic economic consequences,” if Congress had not raised or suspended the debt limit by October 18.

If Congress had not agreed to raise the debt limit this week, nonprofits could have felt both short-term and long-term impacts of the resulting economic challenges. Most immediately, nonprofits would have been expected to provide a wide variety of basic services if government programs were shut down. If the United States defaulted on its financial obligations and went into a recession, nonprofits would likely experience several years of reduced contributions from individuals, businesses, and foundations with declining incomes and investments. Nonprofits – and the economy more broadly – could still face these dire consequences if Congress cannot agree on a longer-term solution to the debt crisis before the U.S. once again reaches its debt limit in early December.
U.S. Department of Education Announces Overhaul of Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education announced plans for significant changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Under the PSLF program, many nonprofit employees should be eligible to have their student loans forgiven if they have been working in a nonprofit job for 10 years while making monthly loan payments. However, the Department of Education acknowledged this week that PSLF’s promise has been “largely unmet” because very few people working in public service jobs (including in the nonprofit sector) have actually qualified for loan forgiveness under the program.

The Department of Education will soon be implementing a Limited PSLF Waiver that will allow many nonprofit workers to count their past payments from all federal loan programs – including direct loans and consolidated loans – toward their PSLF loan forgiveness. This is estimated to help more than 550,000 borrowers qualify for loan forgiveness (for perspective, only about 16,000 borrowers have ever had loans forgiven under PSLF). The Limited PSLF Waiver will begin in the next few months and will continue through October 31, 2022. The Center will provide more details on how nonprofit employees with student loans can apply for the Limited PSLF Waiver once information becomes available.
State Legislators Begin Development of New State Legislative and Congressional Districts
On Wednesday, state legislators began the process of drawing congressional and state legislative districts for elections between 2022 and 2030. State legislators will be able to draw maps for consideration on public computers in the Legislative Office Building during the next couple of weeks. Within the next month, the NC Senate and NC House of Representatives are expected to vote on final redistricting maps so potential candidates can file for the March 2022 primary election. In the meantime, members of the public can watch live (click on the link for the House or Senate Redistricting committee) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays during the next week and a half (or perhaps longer) to see House and Senate members draw potential congressional and state legislative maps (note: the videos mostly show legislators sitting in front of computer terminals and spreadsheets on these computers’ screens).
Nonprofits Send Input to OSHA on COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Regulations
Last month, President Biden directed the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency rule requiring employers with more than 100 employees – including many large nonprofits – to: (a) require their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or to be tested at least once a week; and (b) provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated or recover from vaccinations. Last week, the National Council of Nonprofits sent a letter to OSHA asking some common nonprofit questions about the forthcoming vaccination requirement rule, such as how employees will be counted, whether the rule will apply to employees working offsite, and whether volunteers will be covered by the rule. For more on vaccination requirements, check out the Center’s analysis of vaccination considerations for nonprofits.
Third Quarter Lobbying Reports Due by October 21
Third quarter lobbying expense reports are due to the NC Secretary of State by Thursday, October 21. Nonprofits that are registered as lobbyist principals and nonprofit staff and contractors registered as lobbyists must submit their expense reports each quarter. For more information on lobbying registration and reporting requirements, check out the Center's newly-updated summary of NC lobbying laws for nonprofits.
Nonprofits Can Help Maximize Participation in 2021 Municipal Elections
With dozens of cities and towns around North Carolina holding municipal elections this fall, now is a great time for nonprofits to help ensure that their staff, volunteers, and the people they serve are registered to vote and show up during Early Voting or on Election Day. Voter turnout is typically much lower in years when there are no national or statewide races on the ballot, so it is particularly important for nonprofits to promote the 2021 election (if there is one in the municipality where you provide services). Here are two easy (and nonpartisan) steps your nonprofit can take today:

  1. Check on what municipal elections are coming up this fall in the regions you serve by searching the NC State Board of Elections 2021 Municipal Voter Tool.
  2. Check out the local elections resources from You Can Vote to learn more about what’s on your ballot, messaging for nonpartisan voter engagement, and ways you can get involved.
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Nonprofit Policy Update is a weekly newsletter for current members of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. We track state and federal policy issues that affect all 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Learn about the Center's public policy priorities. For more information, contact David Heinen, Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy.