Simplifying Grant Compliance for All Municipalities


  • Michael Gleeson
April 12, 2024 - (3 min read)

NLC is making great strides to improve grant compliance for all municipalities. Out of the American Rescue Plan’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds, NLC realized that many municipalities struggled with compliance and reporting. For those who did OK and wanted to seek a competitive grant, the order might have seemed too tall.

Over the past two years, NLC has been working with the Majority Staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) on drafting a bill that would help municipalities better navigate the federal grant process.

A representative from HSGAC joined the Finance, Administration, and Intergovernmental Relations (FAIR) federal action committee at NLC’s 2023 Congressional Cities Conference to gather feedback from members about the challenges they are navigating with grants. That feedback was carefully incorporated into the Streamlining Federal Grants Act of 2023 (S. 2286 and H.R.5934).

This bill makes great strides forward in helping municipalities in two primary ways:

  • It promotes coordination and reduces duplicative administrative efforts among the 51 agencies that administer over 1,900 federal grant programs. The bill requires each grant-making agency to designate a Senior Agency Official for Grants (SAOG) who will carry out responsibilities to streamline grant administration. These SAOGs, in combination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and other relevant officials, will sit on the Grants Council.
  • It also streamlines the grant application process, ensures potential grant applicants have opportunities to receive training and assistance from the agency and adopts grants management software solutions that meet established shared standards.

Too many times, we have heard that cities with limited staff resources do not have the capacity to learn multiple grant management systems and sometimes choose to forgo an opportunity due to a lack of administrative bandwidth. The streamlining aspects of this bill will go a long way to improving grant access to all communities.

The bill was introduced and passed out of HSGAC last year. It is waiting for a legislative vehicle to ride on in 2024.

NLC is proud to announce that this idea for a grants council has been adopted by the White House Office of Management and Budget and is active. However, like every council that is not codified in law, it can be dissolved. This is why we need this legislation passed.

NLC is looking to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) or a year-end package to move this important bill through Congress.

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About the Author

Michael Gleeson

About the Author

Michael Gleeson is the Legislative Director of Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations at the National League of Cities.