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House-Senate Talks Advance: Keep Speaking Up for COVID-19 Relief!

By Laurie Baskin posted 07-31-2020 13:04



Negotiations over the contents of the next COVID-19 federal relief package are accelerating, and TCG is providing the latest news and resources as you join partners from the broader arts and nonprofit sectors in urging Congress to provide critically-needed federal support.

On Monday (7/27), Senate leadership released its proposals in the HEALS Act which, combined with the House leadership's HEROES Act and numerous stand-alone bills introduced in both chambers, form a mountain of proposals that may be incorporated, adapted, and shaped into a final package for passage before Congress adjourns for the August recess. 

Federal Funding:
A number of policy proposals would increase public education funding, improve equitable broadband access, establish WORK Now dedicated funding of $50 billion to support the nonprofit workforce, add new COVID relief funding via the National Endowment for the Arts, and -- introduced earlier this week -- the "Save our Stages Proposal" would establish a $10 billion SBA grant program for performing arts venues, agents, and promoters. While Congress may be taking a more restrictive approach to the cost of this latest COVID-19 relief package, new funding opportunities can provide important relief amid the long duration of closures.

We are asking Congress to include federal funding that will support the arts sector and its service to communities.

Here is a summary of the latest relief proposals and potential eligibility requirements under consideration to help inform your advocacy efforts.

Your ongoing advocacy is essential! Please continue reinforcing the following key requests found in the unified national Arts and COVID-19 Statement to Congress, that will support the arts sector, its workforce, and its service to communities.

Join in asking Congress to:

  • Include federal funding that will support the arts sector and its service to communities, support a complete education for all students through federal education funding and distance learning resources, provide relief administered through state and local governments, and adopt an emergency broadband benefit to support more equitable participation in artistic, educational, and cultural activity taking place online.
  • Expand and recapitalize the Paycheck Protection Program resources, provide new opportunities for those that have exhausted initial PPP funds, and ensure eligibility for nonprofits of all sizes to support the arts workforce and its service to communities. 
  • Immediately expand the duration of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and improve guidelines for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to better support theatre artists and other gig economy workers with mixed W-2 and 1099 income sources. We are also asking Congress to increase the federal unemployment insurance reimbursement for self-funded nonprofits to 100% of costs.
  • Incentivize new and increased charitable giving by including an expanded Universal Charitable Deduction in the next COVID-19 relief package.
With jobs, livelihoods, and community services on the line, and complicated negotiations over liability reform and public and workplace safety standards underway, what happens next as policy decisions are finalized and implemented is critical. Over the coming days, House and Senate negotiators must determine the final contents of the package and your ongoing advocacy is so important -- thank you for continuing to contact your representatives in Congress!