Federal Advocacy Update: Week Ending December 19, 2014
The Federal Advocacy Update will be on hiatus for the holidays. The next issue will be published on Friday, January 16.
In this issue:
- A Note from NLC's Executive Director
- Congress Funds Majority of Federal Government Through End of FY2015
- Despite Support, Marketplace Fairness Still Not the Law
- Congress Adjourns Without Renewing Terrorism Risk Insurance Program
- 2015 National Municipal Policy Now Available Online
A Note from NLC's Executive Director
This year, despite fierce political battles in Washington, NLC accomplished great things for cities in federal policy. We overcame partisan gridlock to fix the national flood insurance program, preserving affordable flood insurance for residents and business owners in all of our communities. We successfully advocated for passage of a workforce development bill that will modernize the national workforce development program while maintaining important local control of workforce programs for cities. We also helped ensure passage of legislation to help cities build and maintain their water infrastructure. I would like to thank each of you for your contributions to our hard-won victories this year. Each call, letter, and visit from a city official or state municipal league helped to raise the profile of cities in our nation's capital. Members of Congress and federal agency officials heard from NLC and directly from cities many times this year about cities' concerns. They have heard our voices, and they know that we will not be ignored.
As we look forward to 2015, we anticipate many challenges. Marketplace fairness legislation still must be passed, for the sake of the residents and businesses in our communities. The balance of power has shifted in Congress, and more than sixty new legislators will begin their careers on Capitol Hill in January. We will need to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones, to ensure that cities retain an influential voice in federal policy. I ask all of you to continue your good work and enthusiasm for advocacy into the 114th Congress.
I wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season, and I look forward to working with you again in 2015.
CEO and Executive Director
National League of Cities
Congress Funds Majority of Federal Government Through End of FY2015
Federal Advocacy Staff
This week, shortly before adjourning, Congress passed a continuing resolution/omnibus measure to fund the bulk of the federal government through the end of the fiscal year, September 2015. The $1.1 trillion spending measure passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 219-206, and the Senate by a vote of 56-40, after extended debate in both chambers. It encompasses 11 full appropriations bills that fund federal agencies through the end of FY2015, and one continuing resolution that funds the Department of Homeland Security only until Feb. 27, 2015, in response to President Obama's recent executive action on immigration. Click below to read a brief analysis of the impact of the budget on cities' top federal program priorities in the following areas:
- Housing and Community Development
- Workforce Development, Education and Health and Human Services
- Energy and Environment
- Public Safety and Homeland Security
Despite Support, Marketplace Fairness Still Not the Law
Priya Ghosh Ahola, 202.626.3015
Despite the best efforts of NLC, city officials, state municipal leagues, private sector partners, and House and Senate members from both sides of the aisle, and the support of the Administration, Congress adjourned for the year without enacting marketplace fairness legislation that would level the playing field between our brick and mortar retailers and on-line sellers. Besides failing to help our main street retailers, Congress' failure to get the job done means another holiday shopping season passes by with local governments not able to collect an estimated $23 billion in sales taxes that could be used to support our local infrastructure and public safety needs.
With the new Congress set to reconvene in January, NLC is already strategizing with our partners to advance passage of this long overdue legislation in early 2015. Thank you all for your advocacy on this issue in 2014.
Congress Adjourns Without Renewing Terrorism Risk Insurance Program
Yucel Ors, 202.626.3024
Despite widespread bipartisan support in both chambers, Congress adjourned without reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., blocked the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014 (S. 2244) Tuesday night over an unrelated provision that would create a national association to license insurance brokers in states outside their home state.
Congress's failure to reauthorize the program could have fiscal consequences for cities in a number of ways when TRIA expires on December 31, 2014. Cities may be faced with an increase in terrorism risk insurance premiums and an assumption of risk that they cannot afford. Even worse, some cities that are considered to be high-risk for terrorist action could lose coverage altogether. And, without adequate terrorism insurance coverage, cities' economies, jobs, and well-being will be put at avoidable risk by terrorists' actions designed to undermine our way of life.
When the new Congress convenes in January, NLC will urge swift passage of a new program.
2015 National Municipal Policy Now Available Online
Avery Peters, 202.626.3020
The 2015 edition of NLC's National Municipal Policy is now available online. The National Municipal Policy is a collection of NLC's positions on federal actions, programs, and legislation that directly impact municipalities and guide all of NLC's federal advocacy efforts. The 2015 National Municipal Policy incorporates changes approved by NLC's membership during its Annual Business Meeting during the recent Congress of Cities in Austin, Texas. For a summary of the changes to policy and new resolutions approved during that meeting, click here.