Tonight, President Joe Biden will address a joint session of Congress. Local leaders, as you listen, think deeply about the issues that cities, towns and villages have amplified through our Leading Together Cities Agenda, including our priorities for the first 100 days of the administration.
In January, we discussed how this could become a new era of federal-local partnership. Now is the time to push for bold ideas that empower local leaders to do the kinds of things they have been dreaming about. So, as we look forward to the next 100 days, here is a check in on thefive priorities cities, towns and villages put forth for the new administration to address in its first 100 days.
If we’re giving grades, the first priority, Direct COVID Relief to Cities, Towns & Villages, is an A+. The historic American Rescue Plan Act passed in March with direct relief available to all 19,000 cities, towns and villages. While there is still a long road ahead for recovery, we were proud to work alongside Congress and the administration to deliver this critical aid.
Our second and third priorities, Building Sustainable Infrastructure and Creating A Skilled Workforce, are ongoing. Last month, the President laid out his American Jobs Plan – the first big infrastructure move by this Administration, which lays the ground work for conversations around legislation that will reimagine and rebuild a post-COVID economy. Along with Republican and bipartisan proposals in Congress, the conversation in Washington about how to successfully invest in our nation’s infrastructure has begun.
As local leaders we know, whether it’s transportation, water, broadband or skills training, the U.S. can and should improve our infrastructure. And federal leaders should do this in partnership with cities and towns. So, as this work is just beginning, we’ll give our second and third priorities a B.
We want to see long overdue infrastructure legislation that includes a workforce component passed soon! Learn more about NLC’s work on infrastructure at nlc.org/rebuild.
The fourth local priority is Ending Housing Instability and Homelessness. The housing crisis is driving homelessness to levels that are overwhelming local governments. We’ll have to call this priority incomplete on our 100 days report card. There is progress and mutual interest at all levels in making housing more affordable and accessible – but we need additional federal action to ensure all Americans have a stable home.
The fifth and final local priority NLC put forth for the Biden Administration’s first 100 days was Reducing Gun Violence. Well, from Indianapolis to Boulder to far too many incidents to name, we have seen continued tragic violence play out around our nation this year. We must come together at every level of government to protect the health and safety of all residents. This local priority must continue to be a state and federal priority in the next 100 days and the 100 after that, all the way until all Americans and families feel safe.
Local leaders look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and Congressional leaders to advance these priorities to solve the most pressing issues of our time. Local-federal partnership is critical in driving the national economy forward and addressing the issues that keep residents up at night.
Together, let us continue to respond, recover and rebuild for the sake of all our residents.