County Countdown – May 20, 2024

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Every other week, NACo’s County Countdown reviews top federal policy advocacy items with an eye towards counties and the intergovernmental partnership.

Watch the video above and explore NACo resources below.

ARPA Flexibility

Last week the Senate passed a resolution that might roll back flexibilities critical to local governments under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.

  • Impact of the Senate resolution: The resolution proposes to retract the Treasury’s Obligation Interim Final Rule from November 2023, potentially affecting county investments.
  • NACo’s stance: Alongside the National League of Cities and the Government Finance Officers Association, NACo has expressed strong opposition to this resolution, emphasizing the need to maintain robust intergovernmental cooperation.
  • Next steps: As the resolution moves to the House for a vote, NACo continues to advocate for the flexibility counties need to effectively deploy ARPA resources. Follow the latest on NACo's ARPA hub.

Infrastructure Week

Last week during Infrastructure Week 2024, NACo Transportation Chair Eileen Higgins represented NACo at events where she highlighted local successes and challenges and uplifted the ongoing infrastructure needs of counties nationwide.

  • County role: Counties play a pivotal role in transportation, managing significant portions of America’s roads, bridges and public transit systems.
  • Future funding: With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) ending in two years, Commissioner Higgins underscored the need for ongoing federal support to maintain and enhance county infrastructure.
  • Stay up-to-date: Explore NACo’s BIL implementation guide for the latest analysis and open notices of funding.

FAA Reauthorization

The recent reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration brings several wins for counties, ensuring continued support for airport development and safety enhancements.

  • Legislative success: The new FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 provides $105.5 billion over five years, addressing key county concerns such as funding increases and streamlined project approvals.
  • County impact: This reauthorization is crucial for counties involved in airport operations, affecting local economies and connecting communities across the country.

Affordable Connectivity Program

With the Affordable Connectivity Program set to face funding shortages, new legislative efforts aim to secure its future.

  • Legislative proposal: Senator Ben Ray Luján’s (D-N.M.) new bill seeks to extend funding for the program and align it more closely with existing frameworks like the FCC’s Lifeline program.
  • NACo’s support: NACo advocates for a sustainable funding solution that continues to address the connectivity needs of residents.

Farm Bill Reauthorization

As congressional committees work on the 2024 Farm Bill, NACo’s advocacy has influenced several provisions beneficial to counties in both current frameworks from the Senate and House Agriculture Committees.

  • Key inclusions: Enhanced rural development funding and extended authorization for the Secure Rural Schools program are among the wins for counties.
  • Ongoing negotiations: Despite progress, differing views on nutrition and climate initiatives present challenges in reaching a final agreement.
    Farm Bill primer for counties: Explore NACo’s full overview of the 2024 Farm Bill reauthorization here.

Featured This Week

US Capitol
Press Release

Local Government Leaders Urge Congress to Protect Recovery Fund Flexibility

The National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities and the Government Finance Officers Association issued a statement urging Congress to oppose a Congressional Review Act joint resolution.

Construction

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Examining Investments in County Infrastructure

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides nearly $1 trillion in funding over five years, including $550 billion in new investments divided between transportation and other core infrastructure sectors like water, broadband, energy and environmental remediation.

Airplane
Advocacy

UPDATED: FAA authorization signed into law

President Biden signs 2024 FAA reauthorization into law on May 16, 2024.

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Advocacy

U.S. Senate eyes funding the Affordable Connectivity Program through broader telecommunications package

The ACP is under a short timeline to receive additional funding. After May 31, all 23 million enrolled households will cease to receive any benefit from the program. Several Senate proposals could lead to expedited passage of funding to save the program.

Field at sunset
Advocacy

House, Senate Agriculture Committees release frameworks for 2024 Farm Bill Reauthorization

After months of negotiations and gridlock, lawmakers on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have released competing frameworks for the 2024 Farm Bill.

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Legislative analysis for counties: P.L. 118-63, the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2024

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