The National Association of Counties (NACo) recently published several resources to help counties stay abreast of the latest news and notes on federal policymaking.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
- NACo is constantly updating its interactive BIL funding table with funding opportunities through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Inflation Reduction Act — Clean Energy Initiatives
- The Inflation Reduction Act allows counties to pursue clean energy initiatives and reduce emissions through new competitive grant programs, local resiliency investments, and clean energy tax credits. NACo’s analysis explains tax credits, tracks Notice of Funding Opportunities, and provides resources on direct county investments.
More Flexibility with Recovery Funds
- NACo released a Cornyn/Padilla template letter for county leaders to urge members of Congress to pass the bipartisan State, Local, Tribal and Territorial, Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011/HR 5735). NACo’s template letter encourages counties to share how they’ve utilized ARPA funding to improve infrastructure, public health measures, and economic development.
Student Debt Relief / Workforce Challenges
- County residents will soon be eligible for student loan relief. The Department of Education will soon start accepting applications for $10,000 or $20,000 worth of student loan relief, depending on the type of borrower.
- Workforce challenges are top of mind for many county governments. The US Department of Education has implemented temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program rules that make it easier for federal student loan borrowers to receive credit for past repayment periods. Millions of government employees may now be eligible for loan forgiveness or additional credit toward forgiveness under these time-limited PSLF changes.
Election Security / Protections for Election Personnel
- NACo recently published a legislative analysis summarizing the Enhanced Election Security and Protection Act and its impact on county election administrators.
- NACo recently published a legislative analysis on the Sustaining Our Democracy Act, summarizing new, improved voting systems and funding for state and local governments’ election administrations and access to voting.
- County health facilities are critical for infection and disease control and play a crucial role in testing, treating, and vaccinating residents against the monkeypox virus. On August 2, President Biden announced that he was appointing Robert Fenton, Regional Administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as the White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator.
- The Federal Communications Commission established the Affordable Connectivity Program Outreach Grant Program, which will provide funds for eligible entities to conduct outreach in support of the Affordable Connectivity Program.
- Lack of access to high-speed internet connectivity is particularly acute in rural America. The Rural eConnectivity program offers grants and loans to fund the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.
- New Treasury guidance provides new flexibility for grantees for housing affordability when using ARPA funds.
- NACo hosted a webinar on August 24 to discuss how counties use Recovery Funds to combat the housing shortage and reduce the number of Americans experiencing homelessness.