Join LMC in Encouraging Congress to Provide Funding to Cities Responding to COVID-19

March 23, 2020

NLC and LMC are urging Congress members to support federal proposals that provide assistance to local governments responding to COVID-19.

The National League of Cities and the League of Minnesota Cities are requesting that Congress support proposals that assist local governments in their response to challenges brought on by COVID-19.

Cities are encouraged to reach out to their members of Congress via NLC’s online campaign to urge support for additional funding allocated to local governments.

—Take action now!

In letters submitted to congressional leadership, NLC describes the funding priorities for cities across the country, as well as two specific requests to amend language in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201) signed into law on March 18.

Emergency supplemental funding request to Congress

The National League of Cities made the following recommendations in a letter for federal spending and tax measures to support local governments and protect local economies:

  • Community Development Block Grants: $35 billion to provide funding for housing stability, neighborhood preservation, and disaster recovery.
  • Surface Transportation Block Grant Program: $35 billion to maintain the advancement of mobility options by providing funding for the continuation of public road, highway, bridge, and tunnel projects.
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants: $10 billion to provide direct grants to cities with a population of 35,000 or greater for energy efficiency projects.
  • Social Services Block Grant: $10 billion to assist cities with stabilizing the most at-risk and vulnerable populations.
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance Program: $10 billion to assist industries impacted by the unforeseen circumstances brought on by COVID-19.

Other proposals advocated for by NLC include but aren’t limited to, supporting public transit; directing the FCC to assist local governments with broadband deployment for low-income residents; restoring Build America Bonds; and suspending all federal “shot clocks” that establish time frames within which local governments must complete reviews.

—Read the NLC letter (pdf)

Action requested to amend Families First Coronavirus Response Act

In addition to funding requests, NLC also made requests to amend the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201). The act establishes expanded sick leave and family medical leave for government and certain other employees.

However, the payroll tax credits provided to certain employers to offset the cost of the expanded provisions does not include local governments. Without access to payroll tax credits, local governments could experience economic stress with a new unfunded mandate.

NLC’s request includes the addition of a provision in subsequent funding bills to include local governments as eligible recipients of tax credits to offset the expanded sick leave and family medical leave requirements.

The League continues to work with NLC and the Minnesota congressional delegation to advocate for additional assistance to cities during these challenging times.