Author Archive

Kery Murakami

Kery Murakami
Kery Murakami is a senior reporter covering Congress and federal agencies for Route Fifty. A longtime reporter, he has covered state, city and county governments, as well as transportation, at newspapers like the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Newsday. In Washington, D.C, he has covered federal policy areas including broadband, healthcare and higher education.
Management

In an era of divisiness, some politicians are trying to change the tone

At an event last week hosted by the National Governors Association, Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Sonia Sotomayor spoke about how they have learned to disagree agreeably.

Finance

EPA expands water program to help more disadvantaged communities apply for grants

Many communities lack the resources necessary to conduct the technical assessments needed to win federal grants. The EPA wants to help.

Finance

Israel, Ukraine package would increase funding to combat antisemitism and Islamophobia

As hate crimes increase in cities nationwide, some mayors and advocates are backing an effort in Congress to fund grants that would help synagogues and mosques bolster security.

Infrastructure

Federal permitting hampers climate goals and natural disaster mitigation, counties say

Officials, who are calling for reforms, say environmental regulations shouldn’t lead to yearslong waits to build transmission lines or impede their ability to respond to natural disasters.

Digital Government

County officials lobby for internet subsidies

The FCC is currently turning away hundreds of thousands seeking assistance. If Congress doesn’t soon approve more funding, rural and urban county officials warn, millions will be plunged into “digital darkness.”

Finance

House rejects an increase to the SALT cap

Election-year politics derailed an effort to raise the amount in state and local taxes married couples could deduct. Local governments argued an increase in the cap would help “hardworking American families facing higher federal tax bills.”

Finance

Counties want more money for elections. Washington is unlikely to provide it.

“I just don't want anybody to walk out of here thinking that all of a sudden a massive flow of funds is going to come forward,” a House committee chairman told county officials.

Finance

The Senate wants states to recover the billions lost to unemployment fraud during the pandemic

A bipartisan proposal would let states keep a quarter of the funds they recoup. It is similar to a House proposal passed last year.

Management

Border deal dies in the U.S. Senate, despite pleas from mayors

State and local leaders called for Congress to pass the proposal, but Republican Senators acknowledged it did not have enough support after House Speaker Mike Johnson declared it “DEAD on arrival.”

Management

Senate proposal commits billions to cities for migrant crisis

The proposal would speed up the process of determining if a person qualifies for asylum in an effort to put an end to “migrants who can't work sleeping on the streets or crowding homeless shelters.”

Digital Government

FCC will start turning away hundreds of thousands seeking internet subsidies

The program serving 23 million low-income households will begin winding down this month. It is set to run out of money in April unless Congress can reach an agreement to increase funding.

Finance

The House has restored the child tax credit. Here’s how it would work.

If the Senate approves the tax package, low-income households would receive between $670 and $730 in benefits per child, much less than during the pandemic.

Finance

House passes bipartisan tax bill

The measure restores some of the popular expanded child tax credit, as well as a credit that helps states build affordable housing.

Management

Does your state have strict gun laws? Chances are it saw a drop in gun homicides.

A new analysis from the left-leaning Center for American Progress says there is a correlation between a state’s gun laws and its shooting homicides.

Infrastructure

More cities offer broadband service, study says

The pandemic and federal funding has spurred the growth of municipally owned internet in the past two years as cities look to offer cheaper service.

Emerging Tech

AI is helping police solve more crimes, but some are still worried

At a recent Senate hearing, concerns were raised about false arrests and how little is known about the accuracy of some AI products.

Finance

FEMA to overhaul disaster aid to better help those most in need

The changes would address “the inequitable distribution of benefits” and help more low-income and homeless people.

Management

3 actions for cities fighting antisemitism and Islamophobia

Mayors met last week to discuss how to deal with an increase in hate crimes amid the war in Gaza.

Management

Congress averts shutdown for third time in four months

A short-term spending deal was passed on a bipartisan vote in both the House and Senate. But, as some hoped, it does not provide additional funding for two critical programs helping low-income Americans.