By Sarah Dobson, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
On December 19, a day after the House did so, the Senate passed the two bills which will fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2020 (through September 30, 2020.) The President is expected to sign both bills into law before the expiration of current funding authority at midnight on December 20. While H.R. 1158 focuses primarily on defense and security priorities, H.R. 1865 addresses domestic spending.
Highlights of that bill include:
- Tax code changes that benefit nonprofits:
- Retroactive repeal of a 21 percent federal tax for nonprofit employers on the cost of employee transportation benefits, including transit passes, parking reimbursements, or providing parking facilities directly.
- Elimination of the “Cadillac Tax,” a not-yet-enforced provision of the Affordable Care Act which would have applied a 40% tax on high-cost health care plans and would have had an outsized impact on workers in nonprofits whose benefits are a larger portion of their total compensation.
- Clarification that, along with employees of houses of worship and qualified church-controlled organizations (QCCOs) which are closely affiliated with houses of worship, employees of religiously-affiliated nonprofit organizations (known as non-QCCOs) can participate in church 403(b)(9) retirement plans.
- Children, Youth, and Family programs and funding:
- Inclusion of the Family First Transition Act, which will help states, tribes and territories implement the Family First Prevention Services Act via a phase-in of the 50% well-supported requirement for prevention services reimbursement; $500 million in one-time transition funding to help states and tribes implement Family First; and short-term funding certainty for states with expiring waivers.
- $2.75 million in one-time funding for the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse which vets evidence-based prevention programs under Family First.
- Continuation of funding for Kinship Navigator Programs.
- Increased funding for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
- $10.6 billion for Head Start, an increase of $550 million.
- $108 million for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program.
- Health and human services programs and funding:
- Extends two important home- and community-based services programs, Money Follows the Person and protection against spousal impoverishment for Medicare beneficiaries receiving home health care, through May 22, 2020. The extension gives Congress time to finalize a comprehensive health care bill that may include permanence for these programs.
- $2.4 billion, an increase of $70 million, for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): The bill provides $6 billion in discretionary funding for WIC, which fully funds participation for fiscal 2020.
- Medical Expense Tax Deduction: The spending bill preserves the 7.5% adjusted gross income threshold for deducting medical expenses not covered by insurance for another two years. Without this provision, the threshold would have risen to 10% on January 1.
- Administration for Community Living (ACL) – The bill funds ACL at $2.3 billion, which is $54 million above the 2019 enacted level and $218 million above the President’s budget request. This amount includes:
- $937 million for Senior Nutrition programs, an increase of $30 million above the 2019 enacted level.
- $196 million for Family Caregivers Services, an increase of $5 million above the 2019 enacted level.
- Rural Broadband – The legislation invests more than $640 million in the expansion of broadband service to provide economic development opportunities and improved education and healthcare services.
- Housing and related programs:
- $12.6 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance, $823 million above the 2019 enacted level and $550 million above the President’s budget request.
- $793 million for Housing for the Elderly, $115 million above the 2019 enacted level and $149 million above the President’s budget request. This includes $90 million for new construction.
- $202 million for Housing for Persons with Disabilities, $17.8 million above the 2019 enacted level and $45 million above the President’s budget request. This includes $40 million for new construction.
- $23.9 billion for Tenant-based Rental Assistance, $1.3 billion above the 2019 enacted level and $1.6 billion above the President’s budget request.
- $3.7 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), an increase of $50 million.