Article Published: 15 Mar 2022

Arts Advocacy Update — FY2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Congress Passes FY2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill; Provides $180 Million for NEA and NEH

On March 10, Congress passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus appropriations (funding) bill (H.R. 2471) that funds the federal government for the remainder of FY2022, ending September 30. Up until March 10, the federal government was operating under a series of temporary funding laws that funded various federal agencies at their FY2021-enacted funding levels. The funding law consists of all 12 FY2022 appropriations bills that fund all the federal agencies and provides funding to support the war in Ukraine. The president is expected to sign the legislation this week. Here is summary of the funding bill by the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations. OPERA America appreciates its members and interested stakeholders who were able to communicate with their federal elected officials to urge passage of an FY2022 funding bill that provides funding increases for all the federal arts and cultural-related agencies.

Below are some notable funding provisions in the $1.5 trillion FY2022 omnibus appropriations package:

  • Provides $730 billion in non-defense spending — a $46 billion increase (6.7 percent) over the FY2021-enacted funding level.
  • Provides $180 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) — $12.5 million over FY2021-enacted funding levels.
  • Provides $525 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) — $50 million over the FY2023-enacted funding level. (CPB is funded on a two-year funding cycle.)
  • Provides $268 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) — $11 million over the FY2021-enacted funding level.
  • Provides $1.06 billion for the Smithsonian Institution — $29 million over the FY2021-enacted funding level.
  • Provides $13.2 billion in discretionary funding to the U.S. Department of Labor — $653 million over the FY2021-enacted funding level. This is important for providing greater access to federal workforce development programs for creative workers.
  • Provides $56.1 billion to the U.S. Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs — $595 million over the FY2021-enacted funding levels.
    • Provides $753 million for exchange programs — $12.7 million over the FY2021-enacted funding level.
  • Provides $76.4 billion in discretionary funding to the U.S. Department of Education — $2.9 billion over the FY2021-enacted funding level
  • Provides $23.9 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — $2.9 billion over the FY2021-enacted funding level.
      • A reminder that performing arts organizations are eligible for assistance during a national disaster emergency or national public health emergency. Further information can be found with state and local FEMA agencies.
  • Provides $409.5 million for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — $281.7 million over the FY2021-enacted funding levels, including $275 million for application processing to address USCIS backlogs and delays.
  • Provides $382 million for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — $8 million increase over the FY2021-enacted funding level to help support broadband access expansion and telecommunication security, and to administer its COVID relief programs.
  • Provides $1 billion to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) — $109 million increase over the FY2021-enacted funding level to help support additional investments in programs focused on underserved small businesses, minority businesses, and women-owned businesses.
  • Provides $12.6 billion for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) — $675 million over the FY2021-enacted funding level. This is the largest increase since 2001 to increase the federal agency’s capacity for enforcement and to address current backlogs.
  • Provides $9.9 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Commerce — $989 million over the FY2021-enacted funding level.

OPERA America will keep its members and interested stakeholders updated on any new developments as various federal agencies of interest receive their FY2022 funding and provide information for the arts and cultural sector to leverage various programs, resources, and grant support.

 

U.S. Senate Finance Committee to Hold March 17 Hearing on Charitable Giving

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing this Thursday, March 17, at 10:00 a.m. EDT titled Examining Charitable Giving and Trends in the Nonprofit Sector. The virtual hearing will be recorded and archived for those unable to watch live. Among the hearing's witnesses is leadership from Independent Sector, a national membership organization consisting of various national stakeholder organizations, including OPERA America. The Senate Finance Committee is accepting written testimony from interested stakeholders up to two weeks following the conclusion of the hearing. OPERA America will be submitting written testimony in support for bipartisan legislation introduced in the House and Senate that reinstates, extends, and expands federal incentives for charitable giving, including the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act (H.R. 1081) and the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act (S. 618, H.R. 1704).

In addition to these legislative measures, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee marked up a bipartisan legislative package — Securing A Strong Retirement Act (H.R. 2954) — which would help more Americans save for retirement. The legislation was amended to include the text of the Legacy IRA Act (H.R. 3832), introduced in the 116th Congress back in July 2019, which would encourage charitable giving by American seniors. The bill would expand the charitable IRA rollover to treat donations made by retirees to gift annuity programs as pre-tax income. 

Unfortunately, bipartisan legislation introduced in the House and Senate to provide pandemic tax relief was not included in the recently passed FY2022 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2471) that funds various federal agencies until the remainder of FY2022, ending September 30, 2022, after significant collaborative advocacy efforts across the arts and cultural sector and nonprofit sector. OPERA America is encouraging its members and interested stakeholders to communicate with their federal elected officials using this Action Alert to urge the passage of legislation to provide federal incentives for charitable giving. The Charitable Giving Coalition — of which OPERA America is an active member — also developed a one-pager to highlight the importance of charitable giving. The Coalition also sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to urge additional tax relief.

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to hold an Internal Revenue Service oversight hearing on Thursday, March 17 at 10:00 a.m. EDT concerning the 2022 tax season. The virtual hearing will be recorded and archived for those unable to attend live. OPERA America is working to ensure that the ongoing backlogs with the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) program are addressed by the IRS Commissioner during the hearing.

OPERA America continues to urge Congress to reinstate the ERTC for the fourth quarter of 2021 and to extend the tax credit for 2022. Unfortunately, bipartisan legislation introduced in the House and Senate — ERTC Reinstatement Act (H.R. 6161/S. 3625) — to reinstate the ERTC was also not included in the recently-passed FY2022 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2471) that funds various federal agencies until the remainder of FY2022. OPERA America is encouraging its members and interested stakeholders to communicate with their federal elected officials using this Action Alert to urge the passage of legislation.