Federal and County Relations

Cities and States Bristle Over Proposal to Change How They Report on Finances

Congress is weighing a plan that calls for overhauling how state and local government financial data is made public, stirring worries about new costs for software and staff. But supporters of the revamp say it’s long overdue.

Treasury Shuts Down Helpline for States and Localities

Due to a funding crunch left unaddressed by Congress, the department is phasing out phone and email services to field questions about billions in pandemic aid.

$1B Cybersecurity Grant Program Still Coming Into Focus

The new federal initiative is in its early stages, with questions about how the money will be spent and how much control localities, versus states, will have over it.

A Leading Republican Looks to Get Tough on the SALT Deduction

Rep. Adrian Smith, who is vying to be the top Republican on the House Ways & Means Committee, views the state and local tax deduction as a potential federal “subsidy” for liberal policies.

Republicans are Gearing Up for ‘Aggressive’ ARPA Oversight if They Take Back the House

Lawmakers tell Route Fifty that “clawing back” unspent or misspent American Rescue Plan Act funds from states and localities is a possibility.

Democrats Strike Deal to Boost Funding for Police

The package would provide new federal dollars for hiring officers, as well as violence prevention initiatives and job training.

States and Localities See Big Infusion of Cash From Earmarks

The once-tainted, but now revived process to fund congressional lawmakers’ favored projects is sending hundreds of millions of dollars to state, local and tribal governments.

It’s Time for Congress to Step Up Its Support for Public Lands Counties

COMMENTARY | Local governments with huge swaths of federal land make important contributions to the nation’s economy, but also face unique challenges. Lawmakers should act to shore up the programs they depend on.

Feds Offer Greater Flexibility to Use ARPA Money for Housing

Counties welcomed the updated American Rescue Plan Act guidance. With rents and home prices high, the Biden administration is urging states and localities to put some of their federal pandemic aid towards housing programs.

The Evolving Debate Over ARPA's State and Local Aid Program

President Biden's top advisor on the American Rescue Plan Act dismisses Republican claims that money from the law is being wasted. But he's also urging local government leaders to look for more ways to highlight their successes with the federal funding.

It’s Time for a New Development Strategy in Coal Country

COMMENTARY | The Ohio River Valley region of Appalachia has long been a political stumbling block in the national climate debate. But with the right resources, it can become a global leader of the new energy economy and a more sustainable future.

The Simmering GOP Criticism of State and Local ARPA Spending

Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have been bashing projects paid for with American Rescue Plan Act dollars that they see as wasteful. It could be a sign of further scrutiny to come if they take back one or both chambers of Congress.

White House Wants to Ensure Good Stewardship of Infrastructure Funds

New guidance directs agencies on implementation of the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

Local Governments Vie for New Round of Congressional Earmarks

The revival of what critics deride as "pork" yielded $2.7 billion for localities this year. Now they're looking to secure even more of the federal cash. “We've had dozens of communities across our district submit requests,” says one House lawmaker.

Federal Agencies Pledge to Provide Funding More Equitably to Disadvantaged Communities

The departments said they will do more to address systemic racism in their programs and procedures and work more closely on these efforts with localities.

‘There’s a Large Amount of Fraud Out There,’ Says Special IG for Pandemic Recovery

The role is “not a political job in any way, shape or form” and “if we go out of business, then I think you're missing a key element of … oversight,” Brian Miller says.

New Senate Bill Aims to Improve Federal Coordination With States and Localities

The measure has bipartisan support, but similar efforts in recent years have fizzled. Will this push be different?

How Your Government Agency Can Recoup Millions of Dollars

COMMENTARY | Recovering indirect costs from grants and contracts can help refill the general fund, which is under pressure due to rising costs and ongoing needs related to the pandemic.

One Year Into ARPA Rollout, Spending Varies as Scrutiny Mounts

Billions in state and local aid from the American Rescue Plan Act have gone to combat the pandemic, but also to build monuments and fix state buildings. Republicans are increasingly questioning the need for all the funding and how it is being spent.

Biden Tries to Hit Reset on Domestic Agenda in State of the Union

The president renewed his case for child care and other social programs as a way to cut costs for families facing inflation. But political obstacles remain and Russia's attack on Ukraine presents a growing crisis abroad.