February 11, 2021

Congress is racing to complete the next COVID-19 relief package before a number of provisions expire in mid-March, using the budget reconciliation process to speed approval with a simple majority vote in the Senate.

The League of American Orchestras’ dedicated COVID-19 campaign includes talking points and a sample message to Congress to adapt in your ongoing engagement with elected officials. Orchestras are joining their voices with others across the arts (PDF) and throughout the nonprofit sector (PDF) to describe how COVID-19 relief can support community needs.

House Leadership is advancing proposals through committees in the coming days before the various elements are combined into a single package for House and Senate consideration in response to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal by the Biden-Harris Administration. Further details are in the League’s new overview of the very latest COVID-19 Relief proposals, which may change as they move through Congress. Highlights include:

  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grants: An additional $1.25 billion in funding would be made available to support the Small Business Administration’s emerging COVID-19 relief program, also known as Save our Stages and currently funded at $15 billion.  
  • National Endowment for the Arts COVID-19 Relief: The NEA would receive an additional $135 million in dedicated COVID-19 relief funding, with resources also proposed for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 
  • Emergency Funding for Education and State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal Support: Nearly $130 billion would support K-12 education, with a focus on addressing learning losses, and $350 billion would be dedicated to state, local, territorial, and tribal support to address COVID-related revenue losses. 
  • Paycheck Protection Program: PPP would gain $7.25 billion in funds, and eligibility changes would allow nonprofits with no more than 500 employees at each location to be eligible for forgivable loans.  
  • Pension Relief: Proposals would provide relief for both single- and multi-employer pension plans, addressing longstanding concerns that are even more urgent in the wake of COVID-19. 
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit: The refundable payroll tax credits that are currently available in the first two quarters of 2021 would be extended through the remainder of the calendar year.
  • Families First Paid Leave and Credits: Paid sick and family leave provisions would be expanded and refundable payroll tax credits extended through September 30, 2021. 
  • Pandemic Unemployment Benefits: Benefits, including the $100 supplement for those with a mix of 1099 and W-2 earnings, would be extended through August 29, 2021. Pandemic Unemployment Compensation would increase to $400 per week, from the week of March 15 through August 29, 2021.  
  • Relief for Nonprofits Self-Insuring Unemployment Benefits: The 50% coverage currently provided under federal relief would grow to cover 75% of nonprofit liability, available April 1 through August 29, 2021.

The League of American Orchestras will keep you updated as the next steps in relief negotiations unfold, and we encourage you to share any responses you hear from your elected officials so we can reinforce your advocacy in Washington, D.C.

The League is also continually updating our overview of the new COVID-19 Relief Opportunities that were signed into law in December 2020, keeping pace as federal agencies roll out guidance.

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