State, Territory and Local Leaders Urge Congress to Include Bipartisan American Rescue Plan Flexibility Act in the Next Must-Pass Spending Bill

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Washington, D.C.— Today, the seven leading organizations representing state, territory 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—sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and all members of the House and Senate urging the inclusion of the Senate-passed State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act in the next must-pass legislative or spending bill so it can be signed into law. Inclusion of this bipartisan provision will give local governments more flexibility when using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to reinvigorate their communities and prepare for the future by addressing critical infrastructure and providing natural disaster response. The bipartisan bill will also allow the Treasury Department to continue its effective administration of this historic program.

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

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader Schumer and Leader McConnell:

On behalf of the nation’s state, territory, and local governments, we urge the inclusion of the bipartisan State, Local Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011/H.R. 5735) in the next legislative or spending vehicle so that it can be signed into law. 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) and assist with the implementation of this major new program.

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 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.”
  • Providing the Department of the Treasury with flexibility in its use of administrative funds to continue to advise and support our member governments as they carry out crucial programs including the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Absent this flexibility, we are very concerned that Treasury's diminished capacity to administer these programs will hamper our efforts to spend funds effectively to respond to the needs of our residents across the country.

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 continue. As intergovernmental partners, we thank you for the support provided through ARPA and respectfully ask you to include S. 3011/H.R. 5735 -inclusive of all provisions contained within the legislation - in the next legislative or spending vehicle to help achieve our shared goals of mitigating, responding to and fostering a transformational recovery from the unprecedented national pandemic.