Cities Voice New Call for Action as 114th Congress Begins

Washington, D.C. - Ahead of the commencement of the 114th Congress on Jan. 6, 2015, National League of Cities (NLC) President Ralph Becker, mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, has issued the following statement:

"Last month, the 113th Congress adjourned after averting a government shutdown and ending one of the most unproductive terms in its history. Legislation on critical city priorities too often fell victim to partisan bickering and Beltway politics.

"The House failed to join the Senate in passing the Marketplace Fairness Act, which cities need in order to level the playing field between brick-and-mortar businesses and their online counterparts. We also didn't see legislation that would overhaul the nation's immigration system and provide the critical resources to integrate immigrant families into our communities, prompting the president to take executive action last month.

"We also are disappointed that Congress failed to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) despite widespread bipartisan support in both chambers. TRIA helps ensure that local governments are able to fulfill their responsibilities to their communities in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

"However, despite an overall unwillingness for bipartisanship and compromise, Congress did take action to advance city priorities in several key areas. The Flood Insurance Affordability Act was passed in March, helping millions of homeowners facing skyrocketing increases in their flood insurance premiums. In May, Congress passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act that will provide billions of dollars in new resources to help upgrade the nation's aging water infrastructure. And, in June, Congress passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, modernizing the Workforce Investment Act by providing skills training and access to in-demand jobs for those in need.

"When the 114th Congress is sworn in tomorrow, there will be a new opportunity to improve the lives of Americans by supporting our nation's cities. Critically, cities need a long-term surface transportation bill that takes a holistic approach towards the role transportation plays in the economic development and well-being of our communities. We are also optimistic that the next Congress will take action on Marketplace Fairness, immigration and TRIA. We remain committed to strengthening our federal-local partnerships and working with our partners in Congress to make our communities better places for everyone."

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.