State and Local Leaders to Congress: Increase Flexibility for Existing Covid Relief Funds

NACo primary logo

Washington, DC – The seven leading organizations that represent state and local governments —The U.S. 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—have sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to include the bipartisan State, Local Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011/H.R. 5735)  in the omnibus appropriations package for the 2022 fiscal year. As Congress works to conclude this full-year spending bill, the state and local government groups are calling for more flexibility in how they can invest American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that were already provided, allowing this critical aid to be directed to infrastructure and disaster relief.

The full text of the letter can be viewed here or found below:

On behalf of the nation’s state, territory, and local governments, we urge inclusion of the bipartisan State, Local Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011/H.R. 5735) in the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus appropriations package. This legislation, approved by unanimous consent in the Senate on October 19, 2021 would provide additional flexibility under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSLFRF) that was included in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Since 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 a number of key ways, including:

  • Allowing 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.
  • Allowing CSLFRF 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, territory, 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 thank you for the support provided through ARPA and respectfully ask you to include S. 3011/H.R. 5735 in the FY 2022 omnibus appropriations package to help achieve our shared goals of mitigating, responding to and fostering a transformational recovery from this unprecedented national pandemic.