Spending Bill Provides Bumps To Nonprofit Causes

The federal government is funded, at least through September, as President Donald J. Trump signed a $1.3-trillion spending bill on Friday. The bill includes expenditures relating to health, family, and the arts, that impact nonprofits and the communities they serve.

The 2,200-page bill features a number of provisions related to health and women and families. Over $4 billion is allocated to the Administration for Children and Families for child support enforcement and family support programming and a total of $492 million is earmarked for preventative and prosecutorial measures relating to violence against women. The bill specifically directs $215 million in grants to combat violence against women, $40 million for rural domestic violence and child abuse assistance, $35 million for transitional housing assistance, $35 million for sexual victims assistance, and $20 million for grants aimed and reducing violent crime against women on school campuses.

The spending bill also includes a $3-billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an $800-million increase in funding to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and allocates over $3 billion to substance abuse treatment and prevention, including $1 billion for State Opioid Response Grants.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) applauded the expenditures in an organization release. The release noted that the bill also enables the CDC to fund research focused on gun-violence prevention.

“After repeated calls for Congress to engage in bipartisan spending negotiations and to invest in public health, APHA is pleased to see spending levels for health agencies increased and cooperation restored,” the statement reads. “APHA is hopeful that negotiations for fiscal year 2019 spending will follow regular order and build upon these new investments in public health.”

Spending increases are also earmarked for the arts and housing. The bill provides $152.8 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), $141.5 million for endowment activities and $11.3 million for matching grants.

The expenditure represents a $3-million bump for both the NEA and NEH, Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, said in a statement. The budget does not provide cuts in funding to any national arts or cultural agency, Lynch said, in stark contrast to early proposals by the Trump administration to terminate the NEA and NEH. NEA dollars are distributed to all 50 states and 65 percent of grants go to small- or medium-sized organizations and 40 percent go to efforts in high-poverty communities.

“While the almost $153 million budgets for the NEA and NEH and overall increases to our nation’s arts and cultural agencies for FY 2018 is welcomed news, we must continue in a unified effort to ensure that the latest termination proposal from the Trump Administration for FY 2019 is again defeated this coming year,” said Lynch.

The bill also increases the ceiling of state housing credits by 12.5 percent through 2021 and sets U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budget at a total of $42.7 billion. The allocation represents a 10-percent increase over 2017, according to an organizational statement from Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable-housing nonprofit, and includes an increase in the HOME Investment Partnerships Program from $950 million to $1.36 billion and a bump from $3 billion to $3.3 billion for Community Development Block Grants.

“[T]he expansion of and flexibility provided to the Housing Credit, as well as the increased funding for critical HUD and USDA programs, will be significant in addressing the vast and growing needs nationwide,” said Terri Ludwig, CEO.

More administrative-focused elements of the bill include the exclusion of language repealing the Johnson Amendment — which prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in partisan politics — and $320 million for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the sole purpose of enforcing, operating, and servicing Public Law 115-97, the December 2017 tax bill. The funds will be available until Sept. 30, 2019 and requires the submission of a spending plan for the funds to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House.

Trump’s signature on Friday came just hours after he threatened to veto the spending bill, criticizing lawmakers for not including provisions related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries. Trump also voiced displeasure over the bill’s only partial funding of his proposed border wall along the Mexican border. Reports have pegged that the first stage of the wall, alone, will cost $18 billion.

The bill allocates $1.57 billion to the project, including $641 million and $251 million in fencing along portions of the Rio Grande Valley and San Diego area, respectively.