State and Local Government Groups Call on Congress to Provide Greater Flexibility with Relief Aid

Big Seven State and Local Organizations Urge House to Pass Senate Bill

Today the leading organizations that represent state and local governments — The United States Conference of Mayors, National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, The Council of State Governments, International City/County Management Association, National Association of Counties, and National League of Cities — sent a letter to the bipartisan House leadership urging action on S. 3011, the State, Local Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act. The bipartisan bill, already passed by the Senate, would allow governments that received funding through the American Rescue Plan Act more flexibility in the use of resources on important priorities like infrastructure, neighborhood revitalization and disaster recovery. The letter notes this would allow local and state governments to continue leading America’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A PDF of the letter can be found here, and the full text is below.

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

On behalf of the nation’s state and local governments, we strongly endorse the bipartisan State, Local Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011) – co-sponsored by Senators Alex Padilla (CA) and John Cornyn (TX) – that would provide additional flexibility under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSLFRF) that was included in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This bill was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate on October 19, and we strongly urge House passage so that the bill can be sent to President Biden for his signature.

Since the enactment of ARPA, we have been working collaboratively with our respective memberships, the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury to implement the $350 billion provided under the law. We believe that this new legislation would both streamline and strengthen this historic program in three key ways.

First, it would allow state and local governments to allocate up to $10 million of ARPA funds for the provision of government services without using complicated budgetary analysis to calculate lost revenue, while at the same time retaining the original provision of the law that would allow for a higher amount to be used if justified under Treasury’s revenue loss calculator.

Second, it would allow the greater of $10 million or 30 percent of the total ARPA allocation provided to a state or local government to be used under a new, separate provision that further allows infrastructure-related activities authorized under federal surface transportation laws or Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.

And third, it would allow the CLFRF funding to be used to provide, “emergency relief from natural disasters or the negative economic impacts of natural disasters, including temporary emergency housing, food assistance, financial assistance for lost wages, or other immediate needs.”

America’s state and local governments have been engaged in our nation’s response to COVID-19 since the earliest days, and providing these governments with flexible, essential financial resources is the surest way to see that our nation’s preparedness and responsivity continues. As intergovernmental partners, we respectfully ask you to pass S. 3011, which will help achieve our shared goals of mitigating, responding and recovering from this unprecedented national pandemic.

Thank you for your continued support for America’s cities, counties and states. We hope that this bipartisan legislation can be acted upon quickly as we continue to deploy the critical resources provided under ARPA to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and help foster a transformational economic recovery.

Signed:

Tom Cochran
CEO and Executive Director
The United States Conference of Mayors

Clarence Anthony
CEO and Executive Director
National League of Cities

Matthew D. Chase
CEO/Executive Director
National Association of Counties

Marc Ott
Executive Director
International City/County Management Association

David Adkins
Executive Director/CEO
The Council of State Governments

Bill McBride
Executive Director
National Governors Association

Tim Storey
Executive Director
National Conference of State Legislatures