Moulton Advocates for Nonprofit Assistance in Letter to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal
SALEM, Mass. — Today, Rep. Seth Moulton wrote to Rep. Richard Neal, the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means with a request for Congress to use the next round of coronavirus stimulus funding to provide the same help to nonprofits that Congress is providing to businesses.
“Nonprofits are facing the same challenges as businesses. They deserve the same relief,” Moulton said. “In addition to lost revenue that’s caused layoffs and pay cuts, nonprofits are providing food and shelter for the vulnerable and other essential services. All of this is happening while the donations they count on have dried up because people are worried about their finances and the economy’s ability to recover quickly from the pandemic. Congress must step up.”
The day the House passed the CARES Act, the most recent disaster relief package, Moulton partnered with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) to introduce the Save Organizations that Serve (SOS) America Act to urge Congressional action in future negotiations, which are now underway.
Chairman Neal, Moulton’s friend and colleague from Massachusetts, has taken the lead in drafting the next round of legislation and negotiating its passage.
Moulton’s letter to Chairman Neal is provided in full at the end of this release.
The legislation comes at a dire moment for nonprofits as they furlough workers and make tough choices about the path ahead.
For example, The Boston Globe reported Friday that the New England Aquarium made the decision to furlough some of its employees and cut hours and pay for others so that it could continue to remain solvent while caring for more than 20,000 animals in an aquarium that is currently closed to visitors.
The Salem News reported last week the North Shore YMCA is trying to fund a meal program that feeds more than 500 people, a shelter in Gloucester for 50 adults, and several other safety net programs with 70 percent less income than normal and 1,100 of its 1,400 employees out of work.
This is a snapshot of the economic havoc COVID-19 has created nationwide. In the last month, more than 10 million Americans filed for unemployment with 6.6 million of those filings in the last week alone. The total shattered the previous record of more than 695,000 in 1982.
The CARES Act provided a key round of relief but left out nonprofits that employ more than 500 people. That’s a major issue for groups like the YMCA which run several locations with paid staff operating as one entity. Moulton and Fitzpatrick’s bill would lift the cap. The bill would also allow donors to nonprofits to write-off the donations immediately as part of their 2019 taxes, allowing people to get a quick return on their investments since Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin extended the tax filing deadline to July 15 in response to the pandemic.
ABC News reported last week on the broader economic consequences in the nonprofit sector, which employs 12.5 million people nationally. The report quoted a study which found that 80 percent of nonprofit revenues nationally come from private fees for services and government grants and contracts. ABC News also reported many nonprofits, especially those in areas hard hit by the pandemic, are operating with zero reserves.
Here Moulton’s letter to Chairman Neal in full:
Dear Chairman Neal,
I’m writing to you today to urge you in your role as Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means to provide critical economic support for nonprofit organizations in any future COVID-19 stimulus package. With millions of jobs and invaluable services at risk, Congress must step up to save the organizations that have served and continue to serve our communities every day throughout this crisis.
The 12 million people working for America’s charitable nonprofits are on the frontlines of the coronavirus response: they are the backbone of the food banks, shelters, domestic violence services, houses of worship, early care and education centers, after-school facilities, and more that are being called on to feed, house and care for people whose lives have been disrupted by closures, job loss and sickness.
In addition to these vital services, many nonprofits like the YMCA and the New England Aquarium are the hearts and souls of our communities. The survival of our cultural institutions like the New England Aquarium and major employers like the Y are vital if we are going to quickly revive other parts of our economy. People will need places to work and visit once we can start moving around again.
Millions of jobs in America’s charitable sector are at risk unless a reliable source of cash can be provided to assure continued operations. And in many cases, the scope of operations will need to expand to accommodate increased demand for vital services. The survival of many charities is jeopardized by unprecedented revenue losses from closed programming and services suspended, as well as anticipated shortfalls in fundraising. To support a healthy economy, charitable nonprofits need a reliable source of cash to continue to serve our communities.
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and I worked together to introduce H.R. 6408, The Save the Organizations that Serve (SOS) America Act. The legislation, which has the support of over two dozen of the country’s largest charitable nonprofits, would ensure that nonprofits are not left behind in disaster relief. I urge you to include the legislation in any future COVID-19 related package. Specifically, please:
- Allow all 501(c)(3) nonprofits to qualify for the SBA loans created in the CARES Act by removing the 500-employee caps;
- Provide $60 billion in emergency assistance loans to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations;
- Expand the above-the-line, universal charitable deduction by eliminating the cap and allowing taxpayers to retroactively claim the deduction in 2019; and
- Prioritize nonprofits and their employees in future unemployment insurance relief.
Thank you for your consideration of the above requests to make sure nonprofits can stay afloat while continuing to serve our communities.