National League of Cities Testifies Before Congress on Impact of COVID-19 on Local Governments, while City Leaders from 30 States Advocate for Direct Aid

February 4, 2021

NLC leadership pushing for municipal aid in congressional hearings on financial services, transportation and infrastructure

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National League of Cities (NLC) is testifying before two House Committees, just as city leaders from more than 30 states host virtual meetings with their Members of Congress to urge them to prioritize relief for local governments on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

As a result of Congress’ failure to deliver aid to local governments last year, municipal leaders have nearly exhausted their emergency reserves, rainy day funds and reasonable credit options.  NLC estimates that local governments are facing a $90 billion revenue shortfall for the 2021 fiscal year alone, and could face as much as $360 billion in revenue shortfalls through fiscal year 2022.

“After months of being used as an expendable bargaining chip in stimulus negotiations, municipal leaders are hopeful that Congress will finally demonstrate a sincere commitment to the workers, emergency responders and local officials who continue to serve on the front lines of fighting this pandemic,” NLC Executive Director and CEO Clarence E. Anthony said.

“Local government officials cannot afford to wait as the fiscal conditions of cities, towns and villages everywhere continue to be dragged down. We are urging Congress to act now and swiftly approve the critical aid for local governments in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan so that our nation can move forward with the essential steps we need to take to fully recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis.”

This week, local leaders also participated in a virtual Capitol Hill briefing on the role of cities in moving America forward. On Wednesday, NLC shared local stories and perspectives to help the 117th Congress consider the best ways to partner with cities on America’s economic recovery. The event was opened by Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), attended by staff from many congressional offices, and featured a panel of local voices including Luke Bronin, Mayor, City of Hartford, Connecticut, Quentin M. Hart, Mayor, City of Waterloo, Iowa, Karen Hunt, Mayor, City of Coppell, Texas, and Vince R. Williams, Mayor, Union City, Georgia and 1st Vice President of NLC.

Today, 71 advocates across 30 states, including NLC leadership, State Municipal Leagues and local officials from across the nation, are engaging directly with over 85 Congressional offices to ensure the urgent needs of municipalities are prioritized in the forthcoming rescue package.

Additionally, NLC’s leadership is testifying before two Congressional committees, educating lawmakers on the urgent need to provide emergency relief to cities, towns and villages and ensure municipal governments can continue to offer essential services while preparing to rebuild America’s battered economy. First, Clarence Anthony is testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services to discuss the commitments that city leaders need to see from Congress to help municipalities effectively and equitably respond to the urgent needs of their residents impacted by COVID-19, including critical support for housing and rental assistance programs. Second, Los Angeles City Councilmember and NLC Immediate Past President Joe Buscaino is testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to discuss the lessons learned on how to best protect transportation workers and passengers during the ongoing public health crisis.

For more information and resources on NLC’s COVID-19 response activities, click here.

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The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.