Omnibus Bill Amendment Provides Valuable Flexibility, Resources for Counties

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WASHINGTON — The National Association of Counties (NACo) today applauded the passage of the bipartisan State, Local Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill. The amendment also makes significant investments in local governments that will help counties improve communities and residents’ lives.

Championed by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), the amendment will grant additional flexibility to county governments in investing resources from the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, including infrastructure, community development, and disaster response. It will also provide the U.S. Treasury with much-needed resources to assist counties in deploying recovery funds.

“This bipartisan amendment offers flexibility for counties to respond to a wider range of local needs and continue to drive the nation’s recovery from the ground up,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “With the American Rescue Plan, counties are strengthening our communities and planning for the future. This amendment enables us to deepen our impact today and better position us for the challenges ahead.”

Additionally, the amendment extends eligibility to consolidated city-county governments to receive allocations from the $1.5 billion Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund, authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act, for counties facing fiscal challenges due to the presence of federal public lands within their boundaries.

Beyond this amendment, the omnibus bill includes full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program and significantly invests in the RECOMPETE pilot program and technology hubs authorized by the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act. These programs and others funded by the bill, including a $550 million increase in wildland fire suppression, will enable counties to provide critical services and plan for economic sustainability and growth in 2023.

Following NACo’s advocacy, the bill also reflects other long-standing, major county priorities, including reforming the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy by providing Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program benefits for juveniles awaiting trial. The omnibus also funds the 988 suicide and crisis line, reauthorizes Community Mental Health Services Block Grants, and funds maternal mental health.

“Several measures in the bipartisan omnibus bill address county priorities and underscore the importance of our intergovernmental partnership,” said Chase. “Investments in county government are the building blocks for our national economic recovery and the overall strength of our communities.”

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