Congressional Action Needed to Preserve Treasury’s ARPA Support
With the Congressional appropriations process under way, the National Association of Counties (NACo), National League of Cities (NLC) and others are directing local governments and key stakeholders to ask their Members of Congress to support adding an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) flexibility bill to the year-end omnibus appropriations package or to the next must-pass legislation. The bipartisan bill is titled the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011/H.R. 5735). The bill would ensure the Department of Treasury continues to provide administration support to communities for ARPA programs, including the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) program. It would also give communities more flexibility to use remaining recovery funds on transportation, infrastructure, economic development and disaster relief projects.
The call to action came after the Department of Treasury recently told ARPA recipients that it plans to reduce staff and diminish services for ARPA programs due to funding shortfalls. Without Congressional action, the Treasury would shutter its call center, sharply curtail e-mail response operations and significantly limit the department’s ability to support SLFRF recipients.
On September 30, Congress passed a continuing resolution that funds the federal government through December 16, which did not include the legislative fix. Therefore, the national groups are encouraging their members to call for congressional action on the next opportunity before this Congress adjourns sine die. More information about NACo’s and NLC’s advocacy for ARPA flexibility is available here and here.