WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA-07) and Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD-AL) sent a bipartisan letter with 20 of their colleagues urging the inclusion of the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act in this year’s omnibus spending package. The provision makes local infrastructure investment projects eligible for payment with unspent COVID-19 relief funding. The legislation garnered 162 cosponsors in the House and passed the U.S. Senate unanimously.
“As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to make sure communities have the flexibility to allocate funds to areas of greatest need, and that the Department of Treasury has the resources to provide technical assistance and oversight in the allocation of these funds” said Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux.
Rep. Dusty Johnson said, “More than 25% of SLFRF dollars have gone unspent – and state, local, and tribal governments have asked Congress for flexibility and technical corrections for over a year. These funds are already out on the street, all states want is the opportunity to utilize them wisely. The Senate passed our bill over a year ago, it’s time the House does too.”
In addition to Reps. Bourdeaux and Johnson, the letter was signed by William R. Timmons IV (R-SC-04), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI-05), Van Taylor (R-TX-03), Tom Cole (R-OK-04), Michael Guest (R-MS-03), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Al Lawson (D-FL-05), Mary Sattler Peltola (D-AK-AL), Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ-02), Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA-08), Deborah K. Ross (D-NC-02), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Andy Kim (D-NJ-03), Ed Case (D-HI-01), Derek Kilmer (D-OR-06), Harold Rogers (R-KY-05), Daniel Meuser (R-PA-09), Randy K. Weber, Sr. (R-TX-14).
Read the letter below.
November 14, 2022
We write to urge the inclusion of H.R. 5735, the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, in any end-of-year legislative package.
H.R. 5735 provides much-needed flexibility in the administration of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) included in the American Rescue Plan (ARPA). The bill would neither mandate funds be used in any particular way nor increase overall federal appropriations.
There is widespread support for H.R. 5735, which currently has 163 bipartisan cosponsors. The Senate version of the bill, S. 3011, passed by unanimous consent on October 19, 2021. Further, the legislation is supported by dozens of stakeholders, including organizations representing state and local governments.
The Department of the Treasury recently notified SLFRF recipients that the Department is shutting down its call and email assistance center, where recipients could request and obtain guidance regarding the use of SLFRF funds. H.R. 5735 would allow Treasury to continue providing this critical support by allowing the reallocation of previously-appropriated funds to staff these vital call and email centers. Ensuring the continual operation of this program is critical to provide local government grantees with personalized assistance from the Department of the Treasury to answer questions about – and ensure compliance with – the SLFRF program. Without H.R. 5735, timely guidance and responses to questions from grantees will slow, causing delays in the deployment of money into communities. And smaller cities and local governments, who already have limited resources, will be most adversely affected.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to working with you to ensure states and localities have the flexibility and guidance needed to utilize all ARPA funds.
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux lives with her family in Suwanee, Georgia, and represents Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the 117th Congress. Carolyn is a strong advocate for affordable health care, and economic recovery that puts workers and small businesses first, and investing in her district’s world-class public education system and transportation infrastructure.
Georgia’s fast-changing 7th Congressional District includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area, including portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties and cities Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Sugar Hill, Norcross, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee, Grayson, and Buford.