President Signs CARES Act 3.5, Approves Hundreds of Billions More in Funding for Organizations, Including Charities
President Trump has signed funding legislation that provides close to half a trillion dollars in additional coronavirus relief and testing.
The “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act,” also referred to as Stimulus 3.5 or CARES Act 3.5, since it builds upon the recent CARES Act, is the fourth stimulus bill in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The legislation includes $321 billion for the depleted Paycheck Protection Program, to which charities can apply for grants, of which $60 billion is set aside for underbanked organizations. Also included is $60 billion in loans and grants for economic disaster assistance, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing.
“We’re very pleased that Congress has come back so quickly with additional funding for charities, especially for the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “However, charities—and the people they serve—are still hurting and will be for many months, so we’ll be calling on legislators to include additional charitable giving incentives in future packages. The economic crisis brought on the coronavirus has dramatically increased demand for charitable services, and charities need additional tools and support to ensure they can provide those services adequately to support communities across the community.”
Despite funding of nearly half a trillion dollars, Congress and the White House have referred to the bill as “interim” legislation and will go right back to work on another larger stimulus bill to address continued funding needs and other issues that may arise from the pandemic.
While Congress has now managed to pass four bipartisan coronavirus bills in the past few weeks, future legislation may be more difficult on which to find common ground. Democrats are focusing on funding for state and local governments, while Republicans have expressed concerns about the national debt.
More information about the CARES Act, including an overview of the grant programs for charities and a description of the universal charitable deduction found in the bill, can be found here.