NLC Urges Congress to Reject ARPA Claw Backs in New Debt Limit Bill

April 19, 2023 - (2 min read)

UPDATE: On April 26, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation, known as the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023. It includes a provision that on its face appears to rescind unobligated funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. However, the term “unobligated” refers to program funds that remain with the authorizing agencies from the American Rescue Plan Act and the five other Covid-era response bills. Since all the State and Local Fiscal Relief Funds have been distributed by the U.S. Department of Treasury, these funds are considered to be obligated (according to the U.S. Treasury). Therefore, the State and Local Fiscal Relief Funds program is not expected to be in jeopardy.

Washington D.C. – Today, NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony released the following statement in response to Speaker McCarthy’s debt limit proposal:

The debt limit bill put forward today by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy includes a section that would prematurely claw back “unobligated balances of amounts already appropriated or otherwise made available by the American Rescue Plan Act.” In every state, cities, towns and villages of all sizes have invested State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to meet the needs of their residents. The premature claw back of these funds would jeopardize millions of dollars in local investments in public safety, infrastructure, and other top community priorities.

Members of Congress considering supporting this bill should first talk with the mayors and city councilmembers elected to run the municipal governments in their districts. These dollars have made affordable housing projects possible, they’ve funded crime prevention measures, they’ve allowed small towns to buy ambulances, they’ve kept trash collection services going when tax revenue dried up and so much more.

The funds made available to local governments in the American Rescue Plan Act have been a lifeline to our nation’s communities, and any attempt to claw back these funds should be immediately rejected. 


The National League of Cities (NLC) 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 FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.